MORE than a quarter of Redditch workers are earning below the living wage.
Research by the GMB Union has confirmed the borough as one of the lowest wage paying areas in the West Midlands, with Redditch ranking 11th in a regionwide low pay league table.
In total 26.7 per cent of all jobs in the borough – estimated to number more than 9,600 – are paid below the hourly rate of £7.85 deemed necessary to ensure people can afford to live above the poverty line.
When part-time jobs alone are analysed the figures soars to 49 per cent or some 4,900 jobs.
According to the Office of National Statistics’ annual survey of earnings and hours the average wage across Redditch for a full-time worker is £11.84 an hour.
Union bosses are now calling on Town Hall chiefs to ensure council workers are paid the living wage and encourage businesses in their area to follow their example.
Joe Morgan, GMB Regional Secretary for the West Midlands said: “No area is immune from the low pay epidemic which is why all local authorities need to champion the Living Wage in their communities, beginning with their own staff and contractors.
“The Living Wage matters because it takes into account the income that people need for a minimum acceptable standard of living. It is a first step towards a rate of pay that people can live on without relying on benefits.
“Life below the Living Wage is a life of want and worry for millions of workers and their families.”
Redditch Borough Council is already planning to spend £71,000 in the next financial year to ensure all their staff are paid the living wage.
But Worcestershire County Council has ruled out the move as it would cost almost £1million at a time when the authority had to make millions of pounds worth of savings due to budget cuts.