The average pay of people in the North East has dramatically dropped since the Coalition came to power, research reveals today.
Annual pay in the region has fallen by £1,600 (around £30 a week) in real terms since 2010, according to the Northern TUC.
The figure stands in stark contrast to the salary bump experienced by FTSE 100 bosses over the same period.
While average pay for North East workers fell by 6.3% in real terms, pay for FTSE 100 company bosses shot up by 26% - a jump which put around an extra £700,000 in their pockets.
The average wage for a FTSE 100 CEO (£3,334,000) in 2014 was 134 times the average annual wage in the North East.
The TUC estimates that it took a FTSE 100 CEO less than two working days, on average, to earn what most full-time workers in the region earn in a year.
TUC North East Regional Secretary Beth Farhat said: “Average pay in the North East has fallen sharply since 2010, with real wages falling by over £30 a week in real terms.
“Even though inflation has fallen sharply in recent months, it is still going to take years for people’s earnings just to recover to their pre-recession levels.
“It is different story though for those at the top. Senior City executives have seen a huge boost in their fortunes since the election as their wages have skyrocketed in real-terms.
“This is why we are organising Fair Pay Fortnight, to raise awareness about pay inequality and to call for a sustainable recovery in which everybody shares.”
Labour’s Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell said more than 4,000 families in the North East have an income so low they are still forced to rely on housing benefit to make ends meet.
Figures released by the party show 4,076 working families claim housing benefit because their income is so low.
The MP said: “It’s time the ConDems came clean about their true plans for the North East. Their economic policies are entrenching low pay as a competitive advantage and that means the tax payer is subsidising employers who are putting private profit ahead of their employees wellbeing. A Labour government would move quickly to alter the balance and put fairness back into the economic equation.”
A spokesman for North East Lib Dems, however, said all regions have seen a decrease in wages, not just the North East.
He said: “It is particularly striking that according to the TUC research all regions have seen a decrease in real wages, but the North East has actually seen the lowest decrease.
There is a legitimate debate about whether higher wages for those in work should be the priority, or more jobs to lower regional unemployment. The TUC seems to prefer the former.
“It would be good to achieve both employment growth and real terms wage increases and the best way of securing this is sustainable long term economic growth.”
The Northern TUC launches Fair Pay Fortnight today in a bid to highlight wage inequality.