In 2009 Spain stays in line with the general trend followed by euro-driven economies, slightly sliding in their equalisation indices – since 2007– relative to U.S. wages. Yet, the slide in real wages will surely worsen in the entire euro area and even more so in Spain and other countries as the extreme austerity recession-side strategy that is being imposed ensues.
The gradual transformation of Spanish wages into living wages is bound to experience a hard regression to the levels recorded many years ago. As could be expected, the ensuing effects of the systemic global capitalist crisis began to exert a toll on real wages in the entire Euro area in 2009, which continued in 2010 and 2011 and will be felt far more harshly from 2012 onward. Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Belgium and Spain have been forced to impose drastic economic policies that can no longer be considered supply sided or even recessionary but truly economically depressive. A euro-area policy centred on the harsh reduction of publicdeficits to 3% of GDP by 2013, is drastically cutting budgets in all areas of government at both national and municipal levels. However, “coincidentally”, the new European Union directives are imposing, and not just demanding, a sheer neoliberal systemic restructuring which will deepen the already supply-side ethos that was gradually put in place in the 1990s. In complete incongruence with a truly democratic ethos, the new directives are now focused on reducing wages to the minimum common denominator and on dismantling many labour rights. As it happens, given that euro-area countries no longer have a national currency that could be devalued to increase competitiveness, and that the European Central Bank’s sole goal is to contain inflation, euro-area economic strategy to increase competitiveness is now exclusively anchored on wage pauperisation. Thus, euro-area workers are at a real disadvantage vis-à-vis the rest of the world.
The capitalist systemic crisis has served to ensue a new assault on labour rights and the Welfare State in Spain and across the entire European Union. This will in all certainty decrease the workers’ share of income and increase the employers shareholder value in the coming years.
Download the pdf file with the analysis of Spain's wage gap here.