North West ‘pay squeeze’: SEVEN Greater Manchester boroughs among worst-hit needing ‘urgent pay rises’

By Marios Papaloizou

Workers in the North West are in need of an ‘urgent pay rise’, according to the Trades Union Congress – and SEVEN Greater Manchester authorities are in the list of worst- affected areas.

Wages in the North West have been squeezed more than anywhere in the UK according to TUC analysis, which compared hourly rates of pay in 2007 (adjusted to 2012 prices) with those of 2012.

Greater Manchester authorities Salford, Oldham, Wigan, Trafford, Rochdale, Bolton and Bury all featured on the list.

They found that Rochdale was the second hardest hit authority in the North West with workers of a 40 hour week suffering an average pay drop of £47.98 per week.

Bolton was the fifth worst region and Julie Hilling, MP for Bolton West, told MM that she was dismayed at the findings.

“It is shocking that in every single month except one since the coalition government came to power, real wages have fallen and I am alarmed that in the North West the average rate of hourly pay has seen a fall of 8% significantly more than the fall in wages nationally,” she said.

“In Bolton my constituents are losing around £37.00 per week compared to four years ago.

“This Government is so out of touch with ordinary people that they don’t understand what it’s like to manage on a low income.”

David Crausby, MP for Bolton North East, told MM that rising costs and unemployment make it harder for his constituents to get by.

“Britain is facing a cost of living crisis and falling wages are just one part of a bigger picture,” he said.

“The rising cost of fuel, transport, food and other essentials, plus high levels of unemployment mean it is harder and harder to make ends meet.

“We need Government action to get the economy growing, to create new jobs and to put money back into the pockets of those families are really struggling.”

While the average nationwide wage drop in wages was 8% three of Manchester’s boroughs had higher drops with Bolton at 8.5%, Oldham at 9.6% and Rochdale with a whopping 10.4% drop.

In real term prices this equates to an average £38.9 wage drop for Manchester workers since 2007.

Commenting on the figures North West TUC Regional Secretary, Lynn Collins said: “Austerity doesn’t work and the North West needs a pay rise urgently.

 “Families throughout the region are feeling the real impact of job losses, pay freezes and short working, directly in their purses and wallets.”

“We know that just meeting basic necessities like school uniforms for children starting back this week is proving ever more difficult.”

TUC’s General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “With real wages still falling, most people are being forced to use their credit cards on their dwindling savings if they need to purchase anything beyond the most everyday of items.”

 TUC attributes the wage drop to austerity measures taken by the Cameron government and intend on focussing on the issue when the Conservative Party conference comes to the North West on September 29.

Picture courtesy of Phoney Nickle, with thanks.

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