Northern Ireland news

Nearly a quarter of a million workers in Northern Ireland paid below £9.50 per hour, unions say

"Eighty per cent of hospitality, 45% of retail, 26% of manufacturing and 30% of construction workers are all paid below the real living wage of £9.50 an hour"
Michael McHugh, Press Association

Nearly a quarter of a million workers in Northern Ireland are paid below £9.50 per hour, unions have said.

This equates to one in four earning what the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) said was "poverty pay".

Assistant general secretary Owen Reidy said: "Our colleagues from the NERI (Nevin Economic Research Institute) have published data which exposes in quite a graphic way how low pay is a problem in Northern Ireland.

"Eighty per cent of hospitality, 45% of retail, 26% of manufacturing and 30% of construction workers are all paid below the real living wage of £9.50 an hour.

"We need to be clear about this. This problem has not been caused by the pandemic, it has been with us for some time, and the pandemic has simply and starkly exposed it and exacerbated it."

In April up to 40,000 low-paid workers in Northern Ireland received a pay rise.

The National Living Wage for employees aged 25 and over is £8.72 per hour.

Mr Reidy said more should be done.

He added: "This must be a long overdue wake-up call for the Northern Ireland Executive to develop a short, medium and long-term strategy to address this blight on our economy, and more accurately on our people.

"Precarious work is unfortunately alive and well in Northern Ireland."

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Northern Ireland news