FORTY per cent of women working part-time in Sunderland earn less than the living wage, according to research published by the TUC.
The TUC say women earn just 66p for every pound earned by men working full-time, a pay gap of 34.2 per cent, which is due to the large amount of women doing low-paid, part-time work.
Across the UK, about two in five part-time jobs pay less than the living wage, currently £7.65 an hour.
North Tyneside has the lowest proportion of women working part-time for less than the living wage at just 37.9 per cent
Women account for almost three-quarters of Britain’s six-million strong part-time workforce.
TUC regional secretary Beth Farhat said: “In-work poverty is growing across the North East and it’s often women who bear the brunt of low pay.
“The living wage was created so that work can provide staff with a basic standard of living. But in some places, the majority of women working part-time are earning nowhere near this.
“Clearly, women would gain most from a greater take-up of the living wage by employers, but everyone benefits from higher wages; partner, families, the economy. Councils can lead the way by becoming living wage employers themselves.
“Working together with local employers and unions would maximise the impact of the living wage and help tackle in-work poverty throughout the region.”
The TUC wants to see local authorities lead by example for its staff by signing up and becoming living wage employers themselves.
Newcastle City Council is in line to pay the full Living Wage rate by 2015/16, while South Tyneside is currently awaiting for a report from its independent living wage commission.