Workers in Devon are losing £29 a week due to falling wages, according to TUC research.
The figures show that in 2007 the average hourly pay in the county, in 2012 prices, was £10.61. It now stands at £9.89 – a fall of 6.8% and a weekly hit of £28.71.
Over the same period, wages in Torbay have fallen by 4.4% from £9.53 to £9.11 (a weekly hit of £16.68) and in Plymouth they have dropped 5.8% from £10.82 to £10.24 (a weekly hit of £23.17).
Nigel Costley, regional secretary of the South West TUC, said: “Across Devon, families are still really struggling to make their money go far enough – and are often having to go into debt – as they experience a huge squeeze on their household incomes.
“With real wages still falling, most people are being forced to use their credit cards or their dwindling savings if they need to purchase anything beyond the most everyday of items.
“Workers’ real hourly pay rates have taken a hit over the past five years because wages have failed to keep up with inflation. But this fall is also a result of the worrying increase in insecure and short-hours employment.
“And in many cases when people have lost their jobs, and are fortunate enough to find work, they are forced to take jobs with fewer hours and on lower rates of pay. This is not the way to build a strong economy – the UK needs far more better jobs on much better rates of pay.
“Next week at our annual Congress our Britain Needs a Pay Rise campaign will take centre stage as unions continue to push for decent and fair wages across both the private and the public sectors.
“We will also be urging those employers who can afford to pay a living wage to start doing so. If workers have more money in their pockets, they will feel more confident about spending that extra cash and that’s something that families, businesses and UK the economy can all benefit from.”
The South West TUC is campaigning for Britain to have a pay rise. It would like to see:
• a properly enforced minimum wage
• higher minimum wages for employers who can afford to pay more
• increased commitment to the Living Wage
• a crackdown on excessive executive pay
Nigel Costley said: “Getting money back into people pockets is essential to securing a strong recovery. We also need to avoid another debt-fuelled spending boom of the sort that caused the recent financial crisis – sustainable economic growth depends on fairer pay for ordinary workers and smaller bonuses for the super rich.”
(from a press release)