THE TUC is calling for action amid claims that one in five jobs in Somerset are paid below the real living wage.

It says 45,000 jobs are estimated to be paid below the real living wage, over 21 per cent of all jobs in the county.

Figures from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings estimate that 482,000 jobs in the South West are paid below the real living wage, representing 20.4% of jobs across the region.

The TUC South West says Somerset is home to some of the poorest constituencies and wards in the UK, with low paid, insecure work particularly rife.

Nigel Costley, South West TUC regional secretary, is calling for urgent action to get wages rising again.

He said: "Working families in Somerset deserve better than having to scrape by, loading the basics onto a credit card or cutting back when money dries up.

"The UK is one of the richest economies in the world. How is it OK that our nurses and care workers, teaching assistants and even our civil servants are resorting to food banks to get by?

"We need to see more than piecemeal increases to the current paltry minimum wages.

"Low pay is a problem that isn’t going away unless something is done about it.

"It’s time we saw action rather than more empty bus promises.

"Working households deserve better. We need to get wages rising for everyone."

The TUC is calling for a minimum wage of £10 an hour for all workers; new and stronger rights for working people from day one in their job, including a right to redundancy pay, and family-friendly rights; a guarantee that hard-won rights like holiday pay, and rights to breaks won’t be slashed by the next government.