Decent Jobs and Wage-led Growth in the UK and Europe Business School

Thursday 28 April 2016

Wage moderation policies have proven to be counter-productive and have led to economic stagnation in the UK and across Europe, according to the recent report by Professor Ozlem Onaran, Director of the Greenwich Political Economy Centre, and Thomas Obst, PhD student at the University of Greenwich.

The Greenwich Political Economy Research Centre is hosting a conference on "Decent Jobs and Wage-led Growth in the UK and Europe" on 28 April.

The policy report to be presented at the conference by Professor Onaran puts forward a number of policies, such as strengthening the power of trade unions, increasing statutory minimum wage to the level of a living wage, strengthening the welfare state, targeting full employment, regulating finance, and implementing a public investment programme in ecological and social infrastructure. These policies aim to increase wages and spur sustainable growth.

Professor Onaran says "Policies that promote deregulated labour markets and which keep wages low, have delivered poor economic growth in Europe over the last three decades. Keeping wages low also increases the risk of deflation and, in some countries, destabilises the economy by stimulating debt while in others it creates excessive reliance on exports".

Deflation is now a real and significant risk for the European economy. Increasing wages is one of the key ways in which to address the problem, says Prof Onaran.

According to Onaran, "Wage policy coordination among the EU member states would not only improve economic performance but would also help tackle unsustainable growth that is either driven by debt or by being overly reliant on exports. And while a higher wage policy can be implemented in a single country, the impact would be stronger if coordinated. Therefore the UK has to see the EU membership as an opportunity and lead high road labour market policies as opposed to its current position of promoting low road policies."

Professor Onaran says: "the recovery in Britain has once again been built on the shaky ground of household debt instead of wage growth. Reversing inequality would bring us a step closer to eliminating a root cause of the crisis.

Speakers include:
  • John McDonnell MP
  • Professor Ozlem Onaran, University of Greenwich 
  • Professor Engelbert Stockhammer, from Kingston University
  • Professor Francis Green, Institute of Education
  • Dr Geoff Tily, Trade Union Congress

The conference will present the findings of one new research project: "Workers' Experience of New Employment Strategies".


Full programme.

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For more information about our research, please visit our website for the Greenwich Papers in Political Economy, GPERC Policy Briefs, other publications, and forthcoming events.

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Conferences and Executive Development team
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 8331 9083