Carmarthenshire workers see above average reduction in earnings

Figures released this week by the TUC tell us that Carmarthenshire workers have seen a weekly wage reduction of £38.57 in the last five years, compared to a Wales average reduction of £32.36 and a UK average reduction of £30.30.

The TUC analysis of official figures compares hourly pay rates in 2007 (at 2012 prices) with those in 2012, and shows the extent of the pay squeeze being felt by families across the UK as incomes fail to keep pace with rising prices.

The level of wage reduction for Carmarthenshire workers is within the top 25 per cent of all local authorities in the UK (45th out of 211 authorities), but the figures look even more bleak when broken down by gender.

According to the TUC figures, while female workers in the county have seen their weekly wage drop by £12.31 per week, Carmarthenshire male workers have seen their wage packets plummet by a staggering £89.99 per week – the largest weekly reduction in Wales, and the third largest reduction within all local authorities in the UK.

Local politicians Jonathan Edwards MP and Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM said the figures confirmed Carmarthenshire families’ real-life experiences that wages are shrinking compared to the cost of living.  The Plaid Cymru politicians went on to welcome the TUC findings as an opportunity for both Welsh and UK governments to look at how wages can be increased and how higher-value jobs can be created in Wales.

Jonathan Edwards MP said:

“These figures show that the pockets of Carmarthenshire workers have been hit hard in the past five years, and confirms that wages are shrinking compared to the cost of living.

“While women face more barriers in obtaining employment in the first place, men already in employment have seen the third largest decrease in wages in the whole of the UK – a staggering ninety pound per week reduction.

“Almost fifty per cent of industry in my constituency is within the agriculture, forestry, fishery and construction sectors.  This could go some way to explain how Carmarthenshire is so badly affected.  It does nothing, however, to make up for the circa £5,000 a year loss with which some workers are having to cope.

“Wales is still suffering from having a low-wage economy and large numbers of hard-working people kept on zero-hour contracts.  

“Plaid Cymru now wants to see a focus not just on jobs, but on increasing wages and increasing higher value jobs in Wales.”

Constituency colleague, Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM added:

“The TUC findings are an opportunity for both Welsh and UK governments to look at how wages can be increased and how higher-value jobs can be created in Wales.

“Plaid Cymru’s policy to ensure better public procurement could create 50,000 jobs in Wales through using Welsh firms, while a buy local campaign would ensure that money is spent within our communities, creating better jobs locally. 

“If the Welsh Government had powers over income tax, as recommended by the Silk Commission, then it would be incentivised to improve our economy.

“Carmarthenshire workers are seeing substantial cuts in their weekly page packets – well above the UK average.  Plaid Cymru wants to see urgent action to tackle this.”

ENDS

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