More than a fifth of North West employees are paid below the real living wage rate, new figures shared by the Trades Union Congress reveal today.
The real living wage rate, set by the Living Wage Foundation, was increased to £9.30 per hour this week, as new employers in the region announced their accreditation to the scheme.
However, figures from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) estimate that 629,000 jobs, representing 21 per cent, pay below the living wage rate, higher than the UK average of 20 per cent.
But as many as one third of employees in some constituencies in the North West are paid below the rate.
This comes after the TUC revealed recently that a decade of low pay was driving a sharp rise in household debt, to pre-2008 levels.
The Tuc says constituencies with the highest proportion of employees paid below the living wage include:
*Southport, 44 per cent of employees
*Blackpool South, 37 per cent of employees
*Morecambe and Lunesdale, 35 per cent of employees
*Bury South, 34 per cent of employees
*Stalybridge and Hyde, 33 per cent of employees
Ahead of an election, the TUC is calling for urgent action.
TUC North West regional secretary, Jay McKenna, said: “It’s great that we’ve seen more employers become voluntarily accredited to pay staff a wage that they can live on.
"They’re doing the right thing by their workers and paying their share. But these numbers show that for too many, low pay is a problem that isn’t going away.
“The impact on working families is clear for all to see. We’ve seen the growth in food bank use, from people in work also, and we have workers across the country taking strike action just to squeeze an extra couple of pounds from their employer so they have a wage they can live on.
“Working families everywhere deserve better than having to scrape by, loading the everyday essentials onto a credit card or cutting back.
"For too long, wages have been held back by this government. We need a £10 an hour minimum wage as soon as possible.
"We need unions to be able to access workplaces to collectively bargain for members, because we all know that joining a union is the best way to secure better pay.”