according to the independent Industrial Relations Services Pay Databank,
published by LexisNexis UK.
effective dates in the three months to 31 January 2004 - indicates
continued settlement stability. Basic deals have now been focused around
the 3% median for 10 successive rolling quarters and all the signs are that
this situation will persist, throughout the rest of the bargaining round.
Other key findings include:
* Spread of awards remains narrow. Half of all basic awards remain in
a narrow band between 2.9% and 3.4%.
* January deals pitched at 3%. 35 of the 48 basic deals in the sample
have effective dates in January 2004. Analysis of these awards indicates
that the median deal is also pitched at 3%.
* Public sector awards remain 0.5 percentage points ahead of those in
the private sector. The median basic settlement in the public sector in
the 12 months to January 2004 remains at 3.5%.
* Signs of pick-up in manufacturing awards. For the 12 months to
January, the median award in manufacturing has edged up to 3%, from 2.9%
in the fourth quarter of last year and 2.8% in the April-September 2003
IRS Pay and Benefits Bulletin editor, David Carr said: 'January is a key
month for settlements in the manufacturing sector, and the 3% benchmark
has become entrenched as the 'going rate', despite many companies
remaining squeezed by weak profitability, a patchy recovery and the
seemingly relentless rise of the pound against the US dollar.
'Looking forward, while there is little, if any, likelihood of basic
pay settlements rising this year, the continued strength of the labour
market will provide some underlying buoyancy to wages as a whole. With
aggregate labour demand remaining high and stable, labour mar ket tightness
and skill shortages are likely to place some upward pressure on wages, as
economic growth gathers pace.'