New research suggests most people in the UK will see the real value of their wages decline again this year.
Analysis by the group, Incomes Data Services, suggests private sector pay rises could be slightly higher than in 2010, but will still be well below inflation.
But at the same time, pay for the directors of the 350 biggest companies has risen by 45%. The gap between middle earners and the super-rich "has been widening very considerably", according to business editor Robert Peston's.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber told John Humphrys that the workers' perspective was being overlooked when it cam to pay decisions, and a "dose of reality" needed to be injected into pay decisions.
The disparity between executive and average pay in companies, he said, was "a recipe for desperately low morale" in the workforce.
Private equity boss Garry Wilson echoed his concerns, saying that the levels of executive pay showed companies were "focussing yet again on the short term".
"We need to get our shareholders, our pension funds... to get involved," he said.
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