Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

18,000 Swindon workers earning less than the Living Wage – report

Eighteen thousands workers in Swindon are earning below the Real Living Wage, according to a new report.

The figures, from the Trade Unions Congress, mean 16 percent of the town's workforce are earning less than £9.30 an hour.

The Real Living Wage rate is an independently calculated voluntary wage set by the Living Wage Foundation as the basic hourly amount needed to get by.

Last week the Foundation announced an increase from £9.00 to £9.30 per hour signalling a pay increase for people who work in organisations that have signed up.

Swindon and Wiltshire employers who have pledged to pay their workers the Real Living Wage include, Apetito, the Bible Society, Business West, Excalibur, Good Energy, Moovahome, the National Self Build and Renovation Centre, and Nationwide.

The UK minimum wage is currently £8.21 for workers over the age of 25. For those aged 21 to 24 it falls to £7.70 and for 18 to 20 year olds it is £6.15. Under 18s are entitled to £4.35 an hour, and apprentices £3.90.

The rates are decided each year by government, following the recommendations of independent advisory group the Low Pay Commission.

The TUC South West says Swindon is suffering with too many working people stuck on poverty wages, and with good quality jobs set to close in the next couple of years due to Honda leaving the organisation fears it will only get worse.

The TUC's South West TUC regional secretary, Nigel Costley, said: "“Our biggest fear for Swindon is what will happen when good quality jobs leave the area, and low paid jobs are left to take over."

Ahead of an election, the TUC is calling for urgent action to get wages rising again, with a minimum wage of £10 an hour for all workers.

The Conservatives have pledged an increase in the minimum wage to £10.50 over five years. Labour says that if it won the election, the minimum wage would immediately be increased to £10 an hour for workers aged 16 and over.