More than one in four borough employees are earning less than a living wage, shock new figures have shown.
Data revealed by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) shows 25.4 per cent of Wigan workers are earning less than a living wage, with the rate rising to 27.7 per cent in Makerfield and a staggering 31.9 per cent in Leigh.
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That means that in total 26,000 jobs in the borough are currently paying staff less than a living wage, with 11,000 of them in Wigan, 6,000 in Makerfield and 9,000 in Leigh.
The local figures are considerably higher than the North West average of 21.1 per cent for low salaries.
The TUC is now calling for action on low pay.
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, the figures reveal the North West is lagging behind on the living wage as its figures, which amount to 629,000 jobs not paying a living wage, are above the UK average of 20.1 per cent.
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.”
The worst-performing constituency in the North West is Southport, where a shocking 44 per cent of employees do not earn a living wage.
The figures were taken from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, which is published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).