Collectively agreed wages rise more in first quarter of 2008 than in whole of 2007

Collectively negotiated wage rates were 2.7 percent higher in the first quarter of 2008 than twelve months previously. This increase is larger than that for the whole of 2007, when wages rose by 2.1 percent.

Collectively agreed wages and contractual wage costs


Provisional results for the first quarter of 2008 are based on 86 percent of collective agreements. Compared with the fourth quarter of 2007, the increase in collectively agreed wage rates was relatively small. This is because wages rose by more in the second half of 2007 than in the first half.

Wages up least in hotel and restaurants, and most in education

Collectively agreed wages in the hotel and restaurant sector rose by 1.2 percent in the first quarter of 2008, the smallest increase across all sectors of industry. Modest increases have been quite usual in this sector in recent years.

The largest increase in hourly wage rates was in the education sector (+3.3 percent). For financial institutions, energy and water companies, and in transport and communication, too, wages were substantially higher than twelve months ago.

Increase in collectively agreed wages, first quarter 2008


Employer-paid premiums push up wage cost rise further

The increase in contractual wage costs rose to 3.2 percent in the first quarter of 2008. This increase is larger than that for collectively agreed wages. In 2007 both wage costs and wages rose by 2.1 percent.

The stronger rise for wage costs in the first quarter of 2008 was caused by the increase in the compulsory income-related employers’ contribution to health insurance costs. This compulsory contribution was introduced with the new health insurance regulations in 2006.

Smaller differences in wage costs rises between sectors

The increase in wage costs hardly differed between the three sectors of employment in the first quarter of 2008. In the last quarter of 2007 the differences were considerably larger. Since then wage costs in the private and the subsidised sector have risen by clearly more than in the public sector. This was mainly because the collectively agreed wages in the public sector rose relatively strongly in 2007.

Increase in collectively agreed wages by sector of employment


Monique Hartog