Around one million public sector workers are on low pay, double previous estimates, research has revealed.
The new economics foundation think-tank (nef) said its study of official statistics showed that one in four local authority employees were on low wages.
Outsourcing of work from the public sector to private firms was driving down pay, said the report.Part-time workers and women employees were disproportionately affected by low pay, including dinner ladies, school patrol staff and those in health and social care, the study found.
Pay freezes in recent years, coupled with the rising cost of living, means that public sector workers are on average £2,000 worse off than in 2010, while part-time hourly earnings are worth the same as a decade ago, said nef.
The research showed that 500,000 low-wage workers are now employed by public service outsourcing companies.
“As squeezed local authorities award contracts to the cheapest providers, these workers are often even worse off than their counterparts employed directly by the public sector. A care worker earns only £6.44 to £7.38 per hour in the private sector compared to £9 to £11 in the public sector,” said the report.