GENEVA – Average salaries in developed countries are expected to have risen by no more than inflation this year, the International Labour Organization said on Friday.
Developed country wages failed to keep up with inflation in both 2008 and 2011, but remained about 5 percent above the 2000 level in real terms, the ILO said in its Global Wage Report, published every two years.
"So far as we can tell for 2012 at this stage the trend seems to be for zero percent growth -- flatlining," ILO Director General Guy Ryder told a news conference in Geneva.
The report said governments in the euro zone and countries with big deficits should avoid squeezing labour with a "race to the bottom" in wages.
Ryder said governments should adopt policies that encourage companies to invest their cash piles and encourage banks to lend to small businesses.
Minimum wage policies, which were used until 2009 as social protection to help the most vulnerable workers, were now rising only in line with inflation or even fell in real terms, the ILO said.
In Greece the minimum wage has fallen by more than a fifth, from 877 euros per month to 684 euros, the report said.
The survey looks at monthly wages for paid employees and the 2012 figures were preliminary estimates based on quarterly data from 30 developed economies.
The ILO said it did not have enough data on developing countries to estimate their 2012 wage growth.
(Reporting by Tom Miles. Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)