Union calls for fairer pay

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Union bosses have called for fairer pay as it emerged one in two part-time workers in Blackpool earn less than the living wage.

Government figures show the problem is not just limited to part-time staff, however, with almost a third of people in the resort earning less than £7.65 an hour – putting it among the 20 worst areas in the country.

The TUC highlighted the gender pay gap, saying women working part-time on average earn 34 per cent less than men with full-time jobs.

It pointed to figures showing two in five women working part-time in Blackpool earn less than the living wage.

North West TUC regional secretary Lynn Collins said: “In-work poverty is growing throughout the North West and it’s often women that bear the brunt of low pay.

“The living wage was created so that work can provide staff with a basic standard of living.

“Women would gain most from a greater take-up of the living wage by employers.”

However, despite the figures, the union praised Blackpool Council for being among those to have committed to paying a living wage.

In Blackpool, full-time workers fare slightly better, with 28 per cent of men and 21 per cent of women earning less than the £7.65 an hour guideline.

The figures also show the resort is among the areas where the gender gap is least apparent, as a larger proportion of men than women take home pay below the living wage.

Coun Mark Smith, who was behind the drive to make Blackpool Council a living wage employer, backed calls to encourage more employers to follow suit.

He said: “It’s not just the council – it should be a living wage town.

“It might be harder for some smaller employers, but there are benefits to it.

“When you’ve got staff on the minimum wage they might change jobs more easily, so this would bring more stability to a business.

“And staff will spend that money in the local community, keeping money in the town and boosting the economy of Blackpool.”

In other parts of Lancashire, the number of women in part-time jobs earning less than the benchmark, which is designed to reflect the basic cost of living in the UK, was found to be almost three in four.

In Wyre, 50 per cent of part-time workers earn below the living wage. The figure is 42 per cent for women. Including full-time workers the rate earning below that level falls to 29 per cent.

In Fylde, just 18 per cent of workers do not earn a living wage, rising to 44 per cent for part-time employees.