MORE than a fifth of workers in Rugby could be living below what’s considered a living wage, according to a report out this week.
Although the borough has a below-average Job Seekers’ Allowance rate, part of the reason for that is the number of jobs in Rugby’s booming logistics industry, many of which pay below the living wage of £7.30.
The report, by accountancy firm KPMG, found that up to 60 per cent of warehouse packing staff were paid below this. Additionally, around 80 per cent of bar and restaurant staff and 70 per cent of retail cashiers also live below the living wage – the minimum regarded necessary to enjoy a reasonable standard of living.
Dave Gooding, district chairman of Rugby Citizens Advice Bureau, said wages hadn’t risen in line with basic living costs
“We see a lot of people who work full time but who don’t have enough to get by.
“In recent years wages have remained low while essentials such as gas and petrol have risen, leaving people in an impossible position.”
In Rugby about 400 people, including 135 children, have had to rely on food parcels from Rugby Foodbank to avoid starvation.
Rugby Foodbank believes 20 per cent of those people resorted to the service due to bad wages.
Mr Gooding added: “As well as the stress and hardship living this way can cause, there are other problems too, like people being forced to take pay day loans and having to then deal with high interest rates.”
Marianne Fallon, of KPMG, added: “Paying a living wage makes a huge difference to families and yet does not actually cost an employer much more.
“We have found is improves motivation and performance, and the lower absentee rate among staff means that the cost is offset and paying it is the right thing for our business.”
Various councils across the country have committed themselves to paying their employers at least £7.30 per hour.
No-one from Rugby Borough Council was available for comment as the Advertiser went to press on whether it would join the scheme.