Olivier De Schutter, UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, argues that labor compensation should encompass more than just monetary gains and also acknowledge the impact of work on social well-being.
Europe is facing a purchasing power crisis of unprecedented proportions. In 2022, inflation averaged 9.6% in member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and 9.2% in the European Union (EU), according to Eurostat. In the same timeframe, however, wages rose by only 4.4% in the EU, meaning that real wages have dropped by 2.4% in Europe; in Italy, real wages are now 12% below what they were in 2008. This is a global trend: The International Labour Organization (ILO) reported that real wages fell (by 0.9%) in 2022 for the first time in this century. What’s more, inequalities are set to rise as the most precarious members of society spend a larger share of their incomes on essential goods and services such as energy, food and mobility – the prices of which have risen even faster than other components of household budgets.
The decline of trade unions, globalization and the threat of offshoring, the development of insecure employment (including on work platforms) all help to explain why, everywhere, labor’s share as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) has been declining since the 1980s. In OECD countries, for example, it fell from 66.1% to 61.7% between 1990 and 2009.