Sunderland women who work part-time are earning ‘poverty pay’

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More than half of women working part-time in Sunderland city centre are earning “poverty pay”, new figures today reveal.

Statistics from the TUC show that across Wearside, many female workers are being paid less than the living wage of £7.85 per hour.

This simply cannot be allowed to continue and we need action to make sure that both the gender pay gap is closed, and that much more is done to get the whole of Britain the real pay rise it deserves.

Sharon Hodgson MP

A total of 52.4% of female part-time workers in the Sunderland Central constituency do not receive a wage above the sum.

Low-paid women who work part-time typically include cleaners, restaurant workers and those in retail.

MPs have hit out at the release of the figures, blaming Government cuts as the cause.

Julie Elliott, who serves Sunderland Central, told the Echo: “While in government, Labour took great strides to improve the lives of those in low-paid work, by introducing the Minimum Wage and Tax Credits.

“Under this Tory Government things are moving backwards, particularly for women working part-time.”

The stats show 48.1% of women in Washington and Sunderland West, and 39.6% in Houghton and Sunderland South are in the same position.

Sharon Hodgson who represents Washington and Sunderland West, and is also shadow minister for women and equalities, said: “The figures highlight just how difficult it is for many women, and for their families, to make work pay in this country.

“Anyone who has ever worked part-time knows that it does not mean working any less hard, or that your work is of any less value, and it is a scandal that the pay gap in 2015 remains so stark, and that workers are not getting enough money to live on with real security.”

Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson, said: “Too many part-time workers are low paid and as the majority of part-time workers are women, they are disproportionately affected.”

TUC regional secretary Beth Farhat, said: “Working part-time shouldn’t mean poverty pay, but for lots of women in the North East, that is the reality.

“Those looking to work part-time or on a flexible basis are too often restricted to low-level and low-paid positions, that do not make the most of their skills.

“If we don’t create better opportunities and increase wages for part-time staff, then women will continue to bear the brunt of in-work poverty.”

More than two in five part-time women’s jobs pay less than the living wage, an independent measure calculated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University.

That differs from the National Living Wage as announced in the last Government Budget, of £7.20 an hour, replacing the minimum wage.