The results of the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) serves to highlight the need for a living wage, Derry Sinn Fein Councillor Kevin Campbell has said.
In July of this year the newly-formed Derry City and Strabane District Council voted unanimously to support a Sinn Féin motion calling for the adoption for a living wage to be introduced.
Councillor Campbell said the publication of the ASHE survey painted a “very bleak picture” of the average earnings for families across the North and validated his party’s proposal for the introduction of a living wage.
Cllr Campbell said: “Sinn Féin has consistently pointed out the growing gap between those who are getting richer and those workers whose living standards are continually being eroded. We were the first Party on record calling for the introduction of a living wage.
“While it can be claimed that the economy is showing signs of a slight recovery, it is clear that the working poor and those citizens dependent on benefits are not seeing any improvement in their living standards. Any measurable growth would seem to be the preserve of the already well-off across our society.”
Cllr Campbell said figures clearly showed a trend towards low-paid jobs which could only perpetuate dependence on in work benefits.
He added: “This dependency does not improve the lives of workers but allows for increased profit margins for those employers who refuse to pay a living wage.
“In order to address the problem of increased working poor, we need to see the introduction of a living wage for all workers and the abolition of zero hour contracts.”
Cllr Campbell concluded: “In 2014 people deserve to be paid a decent wage and Sinn Féin believes that introducing the living wage will ensure that the lowest-paid workers will enjoy a better quality of life.”