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Economic Indicators

UK pay deals hold at 4% as inflation steams ahead: XpertHR

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Workers walk to work during the morning rush hour in the financial district of Canary Wharf in London, Britain, January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – Annual pay rises agreed at British workplaces steadied last month at a historically high rate but fell further behind soaring inflation, according to another survey on Tuesday that suggested fears of a wage-price spiral may be overdone.

XpertHR, a pay and personnel data publisher, said employer pay deals for the three months to May stood at a median 4%, unchanged from the previous month.

While jointly the highest reading since 1992, it was a long way behind consumer price inflation of 9% in April.

XpertHR’s report followed a Bank of England business survey that showed employers surveyed in May were not planning a further acceleration in pay rates.

“Despite pay awards reaching record levels not seen for 30 years, any marginal increases we are seeing are outstripped by the sheer pace of inflation,” said Sheila Attwood, pay and benefits editor at XpertHR.

More than 50,000 British rail workers are due to launch their biggest strike in 30 years on Tuesday in protest at pay freezes and job cuts, in what unions bill as the start of a possible “summer of discontent” with teachers, medics and even barristers moving towards industrial action.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spoken of the need for a high-wage economy but earlier this month warned that the risk of a damaging wage-price spiral – where wages chase rising prices in a self-reinforcing cycle – needed to be averted.

A letter on Friday sent to Johnson by 67 economists said there was no wage-price spiral underway in Britain and that keeping wages down would risk recession.

Changing jobs is a key method of increasing pay and on Monday the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, a trade body, said 20% of workers were considering quitting their jobs – up from 16% a year ago.

“CIPD is calling for employers to not treat pay increases as a ‘silver bullet’ for attracting and retaining staff, but instead look at overall job quality by being more creative with job design and people management practices,” the group said.

Official labour market data have brought mixed news of late.

Britain’s jobless rate rose for the first time since late 2020 and other measures of the country’s hot labour market cooled.

While headline rates of annual pay growth have risen to historic levels, momentum in private sector earnings growth has slowed over the most recent months.

Economic Indicators

Peru truckers, farmers to strike over fuel and fertilizer costs

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People walk next to parked trucks during a national transportation strike against fuel prices, in Lima, Peru March 18, 2021. REUTERS/Angela Ponce/File Photo

By Marco Aquino

LIMA (Reuters) – Peru’s truckers and some farm groups will go on strike on Monday after failing to reach agreements with the government seeking measures to reduce the impact of steep global price rises of fuel and fertilizer, sector leaders said on Sunday.

Union leaders met on Friday and Saturday with government representatives, with demands including considering freight transport a “public service” that would reduce costs and curb competition from truckers from neighbor countries.

“We are firm in plans to strike with all our bases nationwide,” the leader of the heavy load haulage and drivers union Marlon Milla told radio station RPP. The union has 400,000 cargo transport units in 14 of the 25 regions of the country.

High global fuel prices linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have stoked unrest in Peru, the world’s No. 2 copper producer, while shortages of fertilizer have raised fears over food supply with the government struggling to secure shipments.

The government of leftist President Pedro Castillo, who has seen his popularity tumble since taking office last year, has taken measures to curb the rising cost of living, but the annual inflation rate remains at around 8%, its highest level in 24 years.

Some farming unions also announced strikes on Monday, in protest at the rise in fertilizer prices and shortages.

Latin American leaders are grappling to bring down spiraling prices despite major interest rate hikes. Trucking protests over fuel costs have hit Argentina while Ecuador is being roiled by protests in part linked to gas prices. [L4N2YB27W]

“The dialogue has not been exhausted, we are in a permanent session of ministers to avoid protest,” Justice Minister Félix Chero told reporters on Sunday. The government is offering subsidies for road tolls and fertilizer costs.

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Economic Indicators

French lawmakers plan $8.4 billion aid for households to fight inflation

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© Reuters. A shopper pays with a ten Euro bank note at a local market in Nice, France, June 7, 2022. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

PARIS (Reuters) – French lawmakers are drafting a bill to shore-up household buying power by raising some forms of government assistance by 4%, at a cost of 8 billion euros ($8.44 billion) from July to April next year, business daily Les Echos reported on Sunday.

According to the report, the planned increases would apply to welfare benefits for families, unemployed workers and disabled people as well as pension payouts, effective in July.

Housing allowances, meanwhile, could be increased by around 3.5% starting in July as part of a separate bill.

France’s central bank forecast this month that French inflation would average 5.6% this year before falling to 3.4% in 2023 and easing to just below the European Central Bank’s 2% target in 2024.

($1 = 0.9475 euros)

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Economic Indicators

Israel to let more Palestinians work in manufacturing to fill labour shortage

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Palestinian worker holds up his ID card as he is processed after entering Israel through the Erez Crossing, on the border with Gaza, February 20, 2022. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

By Steven Scheer

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s cabinet approved issuing 3,500 additional permits for Palestinian workers in Israel’s manufacturing and services sectors, increasing the number to 12,000 to help relieve a shortage of skilled staff, the Economy Ministry said on Sunday.

Workers from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, territories which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East War, require permits to cross checkpoints and enter Israel where wages are higher.

Israel employs nearly 100,000 West Bank and Gaza Palestinian workers, according to the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority. But most work in construction or agriculture, with only a comparatively small number given permits for jobs in factories or the services sector.

Israel’s jobless rate is around 3%, and the economy ministry said the existence of 14,000 vacancies in manufacturing was creating a barrier to economic growth.

Economy Minister Orna Barbivai said in a statement that in addition to the extra work permits for Palestinians, the ministry plans to work to increase manufacturing productivity through automation and digitalisation.

The quota for Palestinian workers in manufacturing will automatically be reduced if the annual average unemployment rate in Israel rises above 7.5%, the government said.

Ron Tomer, head of Israel’s Manufacturers’ Association, called the decision to boost numbers of Palestinians allowed to work in Israel a “lifeline” for the industrial sector given severe shortages of workers.

“There are currently thousands of open jobs that manufacturers find difficult to fill, and we believe that increasing the quota will help reduce the severe shortage at least in the short and medium term and help the industry continue to operate and grow in Israel,” he said.

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