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North West workers shouldn't need to use foodbanks says TUC regional secretary
11:20am Tuesday 31st December 2013 in News
PAY and jobs are the two biggest obstacles to economic recovery in the north west.
That’s the outlook for 2014 according to the Trade Union Congress regional secretary Lynn Collins.
Small signs of improvement in the economy and a welcome growth in jobs need bolstering and the problem of living standards needs tackling in the region where wages have failed to rise in line with inflation for five years.
She said: “The statistics show that Britain’s economic recovery is real but that is not how it feels here in the North West. This is because the government has failed to deliver a growth strategy based on rebalancing the economy through exports and investment. Instead growth is coming from rising house prices and people running down their savings. And while jobs growth is welcome, too many jobs are insecure and combine the three lows: low skill, low productivity and low pay.
“We have heard a lot about food banks and their growth in our region, and whilst there is an assumption they exist for those on benefits, we know that over the last year the biggest rise in food bank usage is by those in work, facing low wages and no guaranteed hours.”
She believes ths situation is because employers choose to pay low wages, despite the call for them to share rising profits.
“It’s a disgrace that workers have to turn to charities to put right the damage caused to working families by low wages. Paying a decent wage to all workers would reduce not only food bank dependency, but the benefits bill which currently tops up household income for those in low paid work. Employers should take responsibility and pay decent wages and this will be a big area of campaigning over the next 12 months,” she said.
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