THOUSANDS of workers across Dorset are paid less than the real living wage.

Figures from a study by the trade union GMB Southern show there are 72,450 working people in Dorset and Wiltshire who are paid less than the £9 per hour real living wage which is 20 per cent.

The real living wage is calculated by the Living Wage Foundation, based on what it believes people need to live in the UK, and is currently voluntarily paid by over 5,000 UK businesses.

In North Dorset alone, 6,200 residents aren’t earning the real living wage which totals 20 per cent of jobs with 48 per cent of these part time.

In Purbeck, 4,750 jobs pay under the real living wage totalling 25 per cent of jobs of which 67 per cent are part time.

While in East Dorset, 3,600 jobs pay less than the real living wage. This equates to 10 per cent of jobs, 100 per cent of which are part time.

According to the study, Christchurch had the fewest number of jobs paying under the living wage at 3,400, representing 20 per cent of jobs of which 67 per cent are part time.

The median earnings for Dorset and Wiltshire residents in full time and part time employment in the year to end April 2018 was £12.31 per hour.

The county's worst area for earnings is West Dorset where 7,200 jobs pay less than the living wage amounting to 20 per cent of jobs of which 50 per cent are part time.

Paul Maloney, GMB Southern Regional Secretary, said: "There is a very high proportion of working families struggling to make ends meet every day. Policies need to take this into account.

"On support, these families are dependent on housing benefits. They are adversely affected by the cuts to working families tax credits as it transitions to the universal credit system. The cuts should be reversed.

"On new homes planned, the majority must be for rent as affordable social housing.

"On energy, the Office for Budget responsibility says that by 2022 subsidies to be paid to investors for low or zero carbon energy sources by households will amount to £10 per household per week. This is grossly unfair for these lower paid households. The subsidies should be paid for out of general taxation.

"Contractors of outsourced public sector jobs should be required to offer a living wage to all workers doing these jobs.

"The law allows employers impunity to deny the legal rights of lower paid workers to combine into trades unions to force collective bargaining to get a better deal at work. This is perverse and should be changed.

"GMB Southern call for real change to improve the upstairs downstairs labour market in the Dorset and Wiltshire".