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Pay gap between public and private sector widens, according to IDS

A clear gap between the level of pay settlements in the public and private sectors is continuing, according to the latest data from the Incomes Data Service.

The median settlement level for private sector deals in the three months to the end of September is 2.6%, up from 2.5% in the three months to August. The median in the public sector remains at zero.

Just over half of pay freezes have been recorded in the public sector. Some lower-paid workers in the public sector have received small 'protection' increases, mostly worth £250 or between 1.2% and 2%, but these are in the minority. Zero awards have also been recorded in the private and not-for-profit sectors, as have lower awards in the 0.1 to 1.99% range, notably in the fast food, pubs and restaurants sector and parts of manufacturing.

The median pay award in the manufacturing sector has risen to 3%, up from 2.8% in the three months to August. Only one pay freeze has been recorded in the sector this time, while just over two-thirds (67%) of manufacturing awards are at or above 3%.

The median pay increase in the private services sector has remained at 2.4%. Here, less than a third of increases are at 3% and above, considerably lower than the proportion recorded in the manufacturing sector.

Commenting on the figures, Ken Mulkearn, editor of IDS Pay Report said, "The different experiences of the public and private sectors are shaping the difference between the level of pay settlements between the two sectors.

"And while pay awards are ahead in the private sector, they are still some way behind inflation, even in manufacturing where pay awards are higher in comparison to other sectors. Our own figures on pay settlement levels appear to reflect official statistics on average weekly earnings from the ONS which also show a gap between the private and public sectors."