Earnings value drops 17.3 per cent

HARTLEPOOL has suffered the biggest drop in real value earnings in the North-East since 2008.

Employees in the town are among the hardest hit during the economic downturn with wages falling by 17.3 per cent, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

County Durham workers have had to deal with a 8.4 per cent drop between April 2008 and November 2012, while pay in the Stockton area, which includes Billingham, fell by 2.5 per cent.

Earnings across the country saw an average 12.8 per cent decline when inflation is taken into account.

Tom Brennan, GMB regional secretary, said: “Consumer spending is the single biggest component of demand in the economy and with the real value of wages from employment falling there is no mystery as to why the economy is in a downward spiral.

“The replacing of full-time permanent jobs with part-time and temporary lower paid jobs is part of this.”

The GMB is campaigning for a living wage of £7.45 an hour (£8.30 in London) and leaders say ballots for strike action will be “inevitable” if settlements in the forthcoming pay round are not agreed.

The mean gross annual earnings for Hartlepool – before inflation of around 14.8 per cent is taken into account – fell from £24,416 in 2008 to £23,794 in 2012.

County Durham wages rose slightly from £22,269 to £23,678 and Stockton’s went up from £21,499 to £24,135.