TUC conference this Friday will highlight the issue of low pay in the region
As the South West TUC prepares for its annual conference in North Devon, figures have revealed that workers in the region are more than £2,000 worse off in real terms than they were in 2010.
Average weekly pay for a full-time worker in the South West is £485, compared to a national average of £518. This means West Country workers are losing out by £1,716 every year.
Delegates to Friday’s conference will learn that although inflation has fallen in recent month, it will be years before wages return to their pre-recession levels. Meanwhile, the TUC will highlight the fact that the pay of top directors has risen in real terms by 26 per cent since the crash. The average wage for a FTSE 100 CEO in 2014 was £3,334,000 – 130 times the average annual wage in the South West.
TUC estimate that a FTSE 100 CEO will earn in two days what most full-time workers in the South West will earn in a year.
South West TUC regional secretary Nigel Costley said:
“Poverty pay is a real issue. More than one in five workers in the South West is paid below the Living Wage. More employers can afford to pay the Living Wage.
“For large companies in sectors such as food production, banking, construction and software/computing – which employ over 1 million low wage workers – paying all workers the Living Wage would mean an increase of less than 0.5 per cent of the total wage bill.”
Meanwhile house prices continue to outpace wages in the region; in the Cotswolds for example, house prices are 11.6 times the average local salary, compared with 5.5 times in 1997.
23 per cent of people aged between 20 and 34 are still having to live with their parents; at the same time the number of households
led by people aged over 64 is set to rise 21 per cent by 2021. Private rents in the region are expected to rise 40 per cent by 2020.
“Owning a house is becoming a pipe dream. The average local house price is now more than five times the local annual salary in every local authority area across the South West.
“The election is a key moment for working people. Unions need to ensure the next government focuses on the quality of employment in the region.”
Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on TwitterLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.