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Wessex FM News

War on wages in Weymouth & Portland

Weymouth Town Centre

Published at 7:32am 18th January 2018. (Updated at 7:05am 19th January 2018)

A new campaign in South Dorset is highlighting the problem of poverty wages.

Following news that average wages in Weymouth & Portland are now the lowest in the UK, Weymouth & Portland - Action on Wages (WeyPAW) has been established to investigate the causes of poverty pay and to promote policies for change.

The campaign will tomorrow (Friday 19th Jan) lobby local MP Richard Drax, guest speaker at a special lunch of the Weymouth & Portland Chamber of Commerce (details below*). WeyPAW will ask him to consider our wages crisis and to advocate urgently for:

  • the National Living wage for all workers in the area;
  • an end to Zero Hours Contracts;
  • equal pay for women workers;
  • full payment of in-work benefits (sick pay, holiday pay);
  • trade union representation in our workplaces.

The campaign group will ask Mr Drax, and neighbouring MP Oliver Letwin (West Dorset), to assist with an audit of employer practices - and to help establish an emergency policy to address seasonal unemployment in the area.

WeyPAW is concerned that Weymouth has become a 'left-behind' town with acute problems.

Campaign organiser Claudia Soren said: "The Office for National Statistics and the Trade Union Council gave data which showed that Weymouth and Portland have the lowest wages in the country. There was also another report showing that Weymouth and Portland's social mobility was third from the bottom of a list of 324 authorities. Yesterday there was an article in the local press that life expectancy in W & P is the lowest in Dorset, so there are obviously many issues around poverty wages around low income that affects health outcomes as well.

Mollie Collins, Chair of South Dorset Labour Party, added: "This is a truly shocking situation. We need urgent action, especially to ensure that our young people leave school and college with the chance of getting a decent living wage in their own area."

The lobby takes place at 11.30am tomorrow at Weymouth College.

The group is also holding a public meeting and discussion on Saturday 27th Jan - 'Our wages crisis - action for change'. Speakers include:


  • Nick Clarke, Middlesex University: 'Who is getting away with wage theft - and what can be done about it?'
  • Dr Jon Orrell, GP and Weymouth Councillor
  • Ros Kayes, former County Councillor and Health Campaigner: 'Wages, poverty and health in Dorset'
  • Plus - discussion on policies for change.

Everyone is welcome to go along: 1pm - Centenary Club, 21 Jubilee Close, Weymouth DT4 7BG

Weymouth & Portland - Action on Wages (WeyPAW) brings together local organisations, trade unions, charities, community and faith groups.

All are welcome to join our discussions and activities. See Facebook. Email: weypaw@gmail.com

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