ONE in five York workers are being paid less than the “living wage”, trade unions will today claim.

The TUC is in the second week of its Fair Pay Fortnight and has released analysis of official figures from the House of Commons library, which it says shows 20 per cent of employees in York do not earn £7.65 an hour, the non-London rate recognised as the minimum necessary to afford the basic costs of living.

Across Yorkshire, 22 per cent of workers are on “poverty pay”., according to the statistics, and Yorkshire and The Humber TUC has used the 15th anniversary of the introduction of the minimum wage to urge firms to pay the living wage if they can afford to do so. The unions said this would help tackle in-work poverty and ease pressure on public finances.

About five million people are paid less than the living wage, but organisations in York which have adopted it for their staff include City of York Council, Aviva and the Golden Ball pub. Yorkshire and the Humber TUC policy and campaigns officer Neil Foster said: “It should be a great source of pride that York has the highest proportion of employers paying the living wage outside London.

“The leadership shown by City of York Council has been important, as is the example shown by private businesses ranging from Aviva to the Golden Ball pub. But with one in five of York’s workers still on poverty pay rates, we need to renew efforts to ensure more employers come on board and ensure work pays.”

The TUC said that if every Yorkshire and Humber worker earned the living wage, it would save the Treasury £300 million every year in additional taxes and tax credit and benefit payments.