Germany

Productivity in the UK’s low-wage industries

Concern about the UK’s productivity problem has become widespread. Fixing the UK’s productivity problem requires action for the lagging parts of the economy – low pay sectors such as retail and hospitality, the long tail of low-productivity firms, and the five million individuals in the UK lacking basic functional literacy or numeracy.

This briefing examines the productivity gap between Britain and its competitors. It is published alongside two other pieces of research commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation:

Slip Sliding Away: Further Union Decline in Germany and Britain

This paper presents the first comparative analysis of the decline in collective bargaining in two European countries where that decline has been most pronounced. Using workplace-level data and a common model, we present decompositions of changes in collective bargaining and worker representation in the private sector in Germany and Britain over the period 1998-2004. In both countries within-effects dominate compositional changes as the source of the recent decline in unionism.