The ‘cost of living crisis’ is far from over for North West workers, claim the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
While the government claimed the crisis was over thanks to a ‘recovering economy’, the union claim North West workers are not out of the woods just yet.
Despite a fall in unemployment, pay growth has slowed and is now well below the current rate of inflation, meaning wages can’t compete with the rising cost of living.
Unemployment fell by 4.6% in the North West but pay growth has slowed to 0.7%, down on last month’s 1.7% figure, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
The North West TUC has welcomed the fall in unemployment across the region but is warning against celebrating too much over a ‘recovering economy’ as pay growth fails to match the current inflation rate of 1.8%.
From February to April 2014, unemployment in the North West fell by 13,000 to 266,000. However the region’s unemployment rate of 7.6% looms over the UK average of 6.6%.
NWTUC Regional Secretary, Lynn Collins said: “It’s great to see that more people are getting back into work and we hope that unemployment continues to fall.
“As important, is providing good quality jobs for people to move into – ones with good terms and conditions, guaranteed hours and a decent rate of pay.”
The latest reports show that the current rate of pay in the North West is failing to cover the costs for workers to get to work, feed their families and pay their energy bills.
Ms Collins added: “It’s clear that workers across the North West, and indeed the UK, need a pay rise, to share in the rewards of any recovery.”
The consequences of employers holding back on pay rises can be severe on workers, with ever-increasing debt, particularly on the household essentials, pay day loan use and more people than ever using food banks.
As such, this year trade unions across the North West will not only be tackling the big issue of pay but will also be looking at the dour issues surrounding low pay.
Image courtesy of DG EMPL, with thanks.