The gap between pay rises for UK workers in the public sector and private firms has widened in recent months, new research has revealed.
Median settlements in companies increased by 0.4% to 2.9% in the quarter to June this year, but remained at zero in the public sector, said Incomes Data Services (IDS).
Higher pay awards were reported in the manufacturing sector but more public and not-for-profit organisations are freezing wages.
Ken Mulkearn of IDS said: "Employees' experiences in respect of annual pay awards are very different in the private and public sectors.
"The median level of awards has risen in the private sector, though it is still some way behind inflation.
"Meanwhile, in the public sector the policy of freezing basic pay for most staff means that, for many, the squeeze on incomes is even greater."
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said the Government needed to strengthen the economy: "Whilst the small recovery in pay settlements is encouraging, wages are still trailing rising prices and this looks likely to continue for some time yet.
"The pain in the public sector is considerable, with pay freezes now coming alongside mounting job losses.
"This harsh income squeeze can only be eased by strong economic growth.
"The Government needs to come up with a coherent plan to secure it as its austerity measures are clearly not working."