ALMOST 40 per cent of Wigan women who are working part-time are earning below the living wage.
Figures compiled by the TUC has revealed reveals that 39 per cent of part-time women in the borough are struggling on low pay.
But while Wigan is eighth best out of 30 authorities in the North West, neighbouring West Lancashire, which includes Appley Bridge, Parbold, Wrightington and Skelmersdale, is worst, with 60 per cent.
The TUC analysis does not include men working part-time as there are too few figures to have a statistical significance.
The union also reports that women get just 66p for every pound earned by men working full-time, which is a pay gap of 34.2 per cent.
One of the main reasons for this huge gender pay divide is the large concentration of women doing low-paid, part-time work.
Across the UK, around two in five part-time jobs pay less than the living wage, which is currently £7.65 an hour.
North West TUC regional secretary Lynn Collins said: “With women accounting for almost three-quarters of Britain’s six-million strong part-time workforce, the lack of skilled, decently-paid, part-time jobs affects women’s pay and their career prospects far more than it does men.
“The TUC would like to see more employers paying the living wage. This would help tackle the growing scourge of in-work poverty and make big inroads into closing what it sees as the scandalous 34 per cent part-time gender pay gap.
“The TUC wants to see more jobs advertised on a part-time basis, ending the requirement that women have to be in post for six months before they have the right to request flexible working.
“Many women feel unable to ask about the possibility of a shorter working week during a job interview for fear it could adversely affect their chances of success.
“The living wage was created so that work can provide staff with a basic standard of living. But in places like West Lancashire most women working part-time are way off earning this.
“Women would gain most from a greater take-up of the living wage by employers. Councils need to work with local employers and unions to use the living wage to tackle in-work poverty throughout the area and we hope they will respond positively to the letters we have sent this week offering to do just that.”
Lisa Nandy, Wigan MP, said: “These figures show that many women are still not being paid a fair wage for their hard work.
“We have come a long way on the issue of pay equality in this country but this serves as an important reminder that we still have a long way to go. All the evidence shows that employers who pay the living wage benefit from a happier, more productive workforce who take less time off sick.
“I would strongly encourage all local employers to do the right thing and make sure they are not discriminating against the women on their payroll.”