Collectively agreed wage rates were 2.9 percent higher in 2009 than in 2008. This is a smaller increase than in 2008, when they were 3.3 percent higher than in the previous year. As a result of the recession, the wage rises negotiated in new collective agreements became smaller and smaller in the course of 2009.
Wage rises down by a third in the course of 2009
The effect of the credit crisis on the average wage rise in 2009 is modest. The wage rises per quarter show a different picture, however. In the first quarter of 2009, collectively agreed wage rates were 3.7 percent higher than one year previously, but in the fourth quarter of 2009 this was only 2.4 percent. In 42 percent of cases, the wage rises agreed in the fourth quarter concerned collective agreements negotiated in 2009.
Contractual wage costs rose by 3.0 percent in 2009. This increase is very close to the increase in wage levels.
Collectively agreed wage rises and contractual wage costs
Wages rise by much more than inflation
The average collectively agreed wage rise for 2009 was 1.7 percent points higher than inflation, which was 1.2 percent in 2009. This difference is by far the largest in the last ten years.
On average the rise in collectively agreed wages in the last ten years has been 0.5 percent points above inflation.
The real purchasing power of employees does not necessarily increase if their wages rise by more than inflation. Net wages are also affected by changes in employee-paid contributions to retirement schemes and social insurance, and by wage tax.
Collectively agreed wage rises and inflation
Largest rise in subsidised sector
The collectively agreed wage rates in the subsidised sector rose by 3.5 percent in 2009. This is a substantially larger increase than the wage rises in other sectors.
In a number of collective wage agreements in the subsidised sector, basic leave was increased in 2009. This affects the hourly wage rate. The end-of-year bonuses were also increased in a number of wage agreements in 2009; this accounts for a large part of the increase in special allowances.
In the private sector, the largest sector in terms of collectively agreed wages, wages rose by 2.8 percent. The increase in bonuses and allowances did not contribute much to this increase.
Collectively agreed wage rises by sector, 2009