Wages across the UK have seen one of the largest falls in the European Union during the austerity-driven downturn, official figures suggest.
The latest statistics come from the House of Commons library and are a sharp counterpoint to the coalition government's optimism about the employment situation in Britain.
They indicate an average hourly wages have fallen 5.5 per cent since mid-2010, adjusted for inflation, which is the fourth-worst decline in the 27-nation European Union.
In contrast, German hourly wages rose by 2.7 per cent over the same period, while across the the European Union as a whole, the average wages decline of 0.7 per cent, far lower than that sustained in the UK.
The latest figures illustrate the true cost of the austerity path pursued by chancellor George Osborne, critics say.
They also show why the claim that "we are all in this together" is proving false, with those of low wages, in part-time or insecure work or suffering underemployment are far worse off.
Only Greek, Portuguese and Dutch workers have had a steeper decline in hourly wages, the Westminster figures show.
Spain had a 3.3 per cent drop over the same period and salaries in Cyprus fell by 3 per cent.
Again, French workers saw a 0.4 per cent increase, while the 18 countries in the Eurozone saw a 0.1 per cent drop during the same period.