The Covid-19 epidemic cuts wages

A payslip. Illustrative photo. (PHILIPPE HUGUEN / AFP)

During the first six months of the year, theInternational Labor Organization (ILO) notes that in 28 European countries, wages fell on average by 6.5%. An even more marked trend for women, minus 8.1% (minus 5.4% for men). It is especially the lower paid professions that are affected. They experience an average fall in wages of more than 17%.

The ILO explains that this drop in wages is due to a reduction in the hours worked. We worked fewer hours, so overall we won less. It is not finished. According to Guy Rider, the director general of the International Labor Organization,“The consequences of the Covid-19 crisis on the economy and on jobs are expected to result in enormous downward pressure on wages in the near future.”

In the richest countries, wages seem to be increasing. For a third of the countries analyzed by the ILO, which are precisely the rich countries of the G20, on average wages increased by 2.6% at the end of the second quarter of this year. Quite simply because a large number of low-paid workers have lost their jobs. They no longer appear in the statistics and, mechanically, average wages go up. But behind this increase, there are many more people unemployed or working fewer hours. A phenomenon observed in France, but also in the United States, Brazil, Canada and Italy. In France, partial unemployment caused the employees concerned to lose 16% of their remuneration.

What is the average salary in France? INSEE has just published its annual report. The latest figures are well before the crisis since they relate to 2018. But, in the private sector, the average net salary is 2,369 euros. One in ten employees earns 1,282 euros per month. At the other end of the scale, if you earn more than 3,776 euros, you are in the tenth most privileged. Only one employee in 100 earns nearly eight times the minimum wage, or more than 9,172 euros. The gap between women and men is narrowing, but it is still 16.9%. An even greater gap among the highest paid, because women are underrepresented there. Of the super employees, those over 9,000 euros, only one in five is a woman.

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