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More UK jobs fail to pay a living wage

45Bangla Mirror Desk:

The Office for National Statistics says there were 6m jobs paying less than the living wage across the UK in 2014, of which more than half were part-time roles.
The living wage, an independently set hourly rate, is based on the cost of living and is currently set at £7.85 outside London and £9.15 in the capital. It is higher than the minimum wage, which from October starts at £3.87 for under-18s, rising to £6.70 for workers aged over 21, and above the national living wage announced by George Osborne in the July budget.
The ONS said that in London, the proportion of jobs paying less than £9.15 an hour hit 19% in 2014, after remaining stable at around 13% between 2008 and 2010, while in the rest of the UK the proportion below the £7.85-an-hour threshold rose from 21% in April 2012 to 23% in April 2014.
Northern Ireland was the country with the most low-paid roles, with 29% of jobs paying below the living wage. In contrast, London, the south-east and Scotland had the fewest low-paid jobs, each with 19%.
Across the UK, the ONS said women and young people were most likely to be in low-paid jobs. While 16% of jobs done by men in London and 18% outside London paid less than the living wage, among women the figures were 22% and 29% respectively.
Among jobs taken by 18- to 24-year-olds, 48% in London and 58% outside were paid less than the living wage.
Poverty and equalities campaigners warned that the pay disparity between male and female workers could have a serious impact on child welfare. Vivienne Hayes, CEO of the Women’s Resource Centre, said “The women’s sector has been campaigning for years on proper affordable childcare, equal pay audits, quotas for disadvantaged groups and family friendly flexible working hours.
“It’s about time employers and the government woke up and listened to us. Women’s poverty is serious, and it is increasing. Just think about the impact these low wages have on children’s poverty too.”
The figures, which are based on data collected in the annual survey of hours and earnings, and count jobs rather than workers, showed that cleaning and catering were the sectors where jobs were most likely to be paid less than the living wage.
The ONS said 76% of cleaning jobs in London – 37,000 roles – and 68% in the rest of the UK (163,000 jobs) paid less than the living wage. In hospitality and catering the figures were 70% and 65%. In retail, the ONS found that 1.5m jobs around the UK paid less than the living wage.
A spokesman for the Living Wage Foundation, which sets the figure each year, said despite “significant progress” in many sectors, more jobs than ever were below the voluntary rates.
“These figures demonstrate that while the economy may be recovering as a whole, there is a real problem with ensuring everyone benefits, and low pay is still prevalent in Britain today,” he said.
Around 1,800 employees have signed up to pay the living wage, the foundation said. “The living wage offers great benefits to business including reduction in turnover and higher productivity, while 70% of consumers say they would prefer to shop with a living wage employer.”
Recently, retailer Morrisons announced it would increase wages for 90,000 staff to £8.20 an hour from March, and other retailers have also committed to increase pay by a smaller amount.
The moves follow July’s announcement of a national living wage by the chancellor, which will see over-25s paid more than the current minimum wage. The figure will be set at £7.20 when it is launched in April 2016 and will rise to £9 by 2020.
TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “Everybody deserves a fair day’s pay for an honest day’s work. But with more and more jobs paying less than the living wage, it is clear that millions of workers are not getting their fair share from the economic recovery.
“It’s particularly shocking that so many more women than men are denied the living wage. We need to value women’s work more. And we need employers in sectors with large female workforces, such as care services, retail and hospitality, to give their staff fairer pay.”
Alison Garnham, chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said low paid workers were already struggling to get their families out of poverty, and changes to tax credits announced by the government would make matters worse.
“Today’s evidence on low pay shows just how dangerous the proposed tax credit cuts would be,” she said. “It also points up the absurdity of the government’s plan to stop measuring poverty as lack of money. Because if we switch to a focus on poverty as worklessness, the children represented in these statistics are effectively erased from the poverty record.”