UK pay awards hold at 6% in three months to April: XpertHR

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By Suban Abdulla

LONDON (Reuters) - Pay settlements by British employers held at 6% in the quarter to April, matching the record increases seen in the three rolling quarters before, but were well below double-digit inflation, data from human resources company XpertHR showed on Wednesday.

XpertHR said the median basic pay settlement in the three months to the end of April remained at 6%, two percentage points higher than the same time period a year ago.

Sheila Attwood, senior content manager at XpertHR, said last month's data was significant as it because it includes the first wage reviews from April.

April is a key month for pay deals between employers and staff, and comes at a time when many public sector workers are taking industrial action.

The latest inflation data is due to be published later on Wednesday. Economist polled by Reuters expect prices rises to have eased to an annual 8.2% in April.

The Bank of England, which raised interest rates for the 12th time in a row in May, is concerned that inflation could be harder to tame if pay deals keep growing.

However, BoE governor Andrew Bailey told lawmakers on parliament's Treasury Committee on Tuesday that private sector wages were not growing unexpectedly fast.

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday forecast Britain's economy would grow 0.4% in 2023, but said greater persistence in price rises and accompanying unsustainable wage rises were the biggest threat to Britain's economic outlook.

"While inflation is forecast to fall through the second half of this year, our research suggests pay awards may well hold at their current levels," Attwood said.

Official data from the Office for National Statistics, published last week, showed pay excluding bonuses grew by an annual 6.7% in the three months to March, slightly up from 6.6% in the three months to February.

(Reporting by Suban Abdulla; editing by David Milliken)