WOMEN working part-time across Wirral are struggling on low pay, with 40% earning less than the living wage.
Union bosses are calling for more to be done to tackle the problem of in-work poverty, as figures released by the North West Trades Union Congress (TUC) paint a dire picture of low paid part-time work for women across the region.
Women earn just 66p for every pound earned by men working full-time – a pay gap of 34.2%.
One of the main reasons for this huge gender pay divide is the large concentration of women doing low-paid, part-time work, says the TUC.
Across the UK, around two in five-part time jobs pay less than the living wage and in Wirral, 12.7% of women working full-time are also struggling to make ends meet due to low pay.
But figures show that those working in Wirral are better paid than most in the Northwest, with 56.2% of female part-time workers in St Helens and 46.8% in Liverpool taking home less than the living wage, which is currently £7.65 an hour.
West Lancashire has a national high of 73.9%, while Lancaster has the lowest proportion of women working part time for less than the living wage at just 33.4%.
North West TUC regional secretary Lynn Collins said: “In-work poverty is growing throughout the Northwest and it’s often women that 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 places like West Lancashire and Pendle, most women working part-time are way off earning this.
“But they aren’t the only ones and the figures show that much more can be done across Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside.”
The TUC believes that local authorities should lead by example by becoming living wage employers themselves, something that Wirral Council did in 2012.
The living wage is currently set at £7.65 an hour, while the legal minimum wage is £6.31 – it will increase to £6.50 from October 1.
The wage is set independently and updated annually and is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK.
Employers choose to pay the living wage on a voluntary basis.
Speaking earlier this month, council leader Phil Davies said: “I want to see every employer in Wirral working towards paying its employees a living wage.”