Darlington is becoming a low-wage economy, says trade unionist

SIGN UP: TUC activists encourage members of the public to back their anti-austerity campaign, in Darlington town centre on Saturday

SIGN UP: TUC activists encourage members of the public to back their anti-austerity campaign, in Darlington town centre on Saturday

First published in News
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter (Darlington)

DARLINGTON is becoming a ‘low-wage economy’ according to one trade unionist who took part in an anti-austerity campaign in the town at the weekend.

Members of the Darlington branch of the Trades Union Council (TUC) handed out leaflets in High Row on Saturday (April 5).

The TUC is campaigning for higher wages as part of Fair Pay Fortnight.

A TUC study found one in four people in County Durham earn less than the ‘living wage’ of £7.65 per hour.

Darlington people, in particular, have fared worse than most with a drop of more than 16 per cent in real-terms wages in the past five years.

Darlington TUC believes that the Government’s policies are making the rich richer at the expense of everyone else.

Pat Buttle, secretary of Darlington TUC, said: “These policies are primarily designed to reduce our living standards so private business can make more profits.

“We aim to build an alternative consensus that promotes fair pay and public investment as a solution to the crisis.”

Darlington Against Cuts co-ordinator Alan Docherty took part in the leafleting on Saturday.

He said: “Darlington has suffered one of the biggest reductions in the country in real wages over the last five years.

“Darlington is becoming a low-wage economy and that’s not good for the town.

“One of the main things we want people to do is join trade unions and get active.

“We have to fight for fairer pay, as it is not just going to be handed to people who ask nicely.”

Comments (9)

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5:43pm Sun 6 Apr 14

Savant_NE says...

About time someone took up the cause for South Durham.
However,until more skilled jobs and industry is brought into the area wages will never rise.The mix is very much to lower wages jobs.
The recession has also played a part , recruiters asking 'how much will you work for ' rather than 'the jobs pays.'.You find yourself in a wage lottery just to beat the other person,so wages fall as there are more workers than there are jobs.
Darlington need to promote itself as a highly skilled town and local government need to promote industrial estates more.They have 2 A1M junctions between A68 and A167 Coatham Mundeville.Most towns would line them with factories to show Darlington is open for business.
I was astounded to here Newcastle College promoting skills development for Hitachi.
Whilst a few years ago Darlington College closed the Electrical Installation course.,a strange idea when they just announcement of an 'electric train' factory being built 6miles away
There needs to be more self promotion and strengthen its focus on innovation to bring the jobs in .Petition for that and you'll get higher wages
About time someone took up the cause for South Durham. However,until more skilled jobs and industry is brought into the area wages will never rise.The mix is very much to lower wages jobs. The recession has also played a part , recruiters asking 'how much will you work for ' rather than 'the jobs pays.'.You find yourself in a wage lottery just to beat the other person,so wages fall as there are more workers than there are jobs. Darlington need to promote itself as a highly skilled town and local government need to promote industrial estates more.They have 2 A1M junctions between A68 and A167 Coatham Mundeville.Most towns would line them with factories to show Darlington is open for business. I was astounded to here Newcastle College promoting skills development for Hitachi. Whilst a few years ago Darlington College closed the Electrical Installation course.,a strange idea when they just announcement of an 'electric train' factory being built 6miles away There needs to be more self promotion and strengthen its focus on innovation to bring the jobs in .Petition for that and you'll get higher wages Savant_NE
  • Score: 6

7:08pm Sun 6 Apr 14

Border Terrier says...

Blame Bliar, he let all the Eastern Europeans in who work for less than the minimum wage. And that's mega bucks to them!
Blame Bliar, he let all the Eastern Europeans in who work for less than the minimum wage. And that's mega bucks to them! Border Terrier
  • Score: -5

9:04pm Sun 6 Apr 14

thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth says...

Minimum wage = Starvation wage.
Minimum wage = Starvation wage. thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth
  • Score: 0

11:08pm Sun 6 Apr 14

bambara says...

I'd blame Tory Blair for a lot of things, for getting us into unecessary and illegal wars in Iraq, and Afghanistan, for mortgaging the future of our children by bringing in tuition fees for students, and for promoting divisive faith schools to name just the top 3, but allowing in people from the eastern block who are willing and able to work, is not one of the things I'd blame him for.
If you want to blame someone for the low wage economy in the NE, look back to Maggie Thatcher, she may be dead but her legacy of destruction of the infrastructure of the NE lives on. She is the one who destroyed the economy of the NE. The tories will claim the old industries were dinosaurs, and were dying a slow death, but to destroy them WITH NO PLAN FOR WHAT YOU WILL REPLACE THEM WITH was madness and sheer vandalism.
The resulting over-reliance on financial services and banking then resulted in the over exposure of this coutry to the banking crash.

That is why there is a problem, it has nothing to do with the hard working Poles, Latvians etc... who are picking your vegetables, stacking the supermarket shelves, and staffing the late night petrol stations.
This xenophobic campaign against eastern europeans is simply ridiculous, as it was a generation ago when it was against the asians, and 2 generations ago when it was against the blacks, and when it was against the irish, etc...
This country is a mongrel nation, and we are stronger and fitter for it, more often than not the eastern europeans, like their multiple predecesors are taking the jobs we struggled to fill before they came, they are taking the low paid jobs, working unsocial hours, doing hard manual labour, the jobs native people didn't want to do.
It is very easy for racists and xenophobes to point at "foreigners" and blame them for all the ills visited on a country, but the last time that was really the problem was with William the conqueror.
Simple fact, proven by ONS figures, the eastern european immigrants are net contributors to the country.
I'd blame Tory Blair for a lot of things, for getting us into unecessary and illegal wars in Iraq, and Afghanistan, for mortgaging the future of our children by bringing in tuition fees for students, and for promoting divisive faith schools to name just the top 3, but allowing in people from the eastern block who are willing and able to work, is not one of the things I'd blame him for. If you want to blame someone for the low wage economy in the NE, look back to Maggie Thatcher, she may be dead but her legacy of destruction of the infrastructure of the NE lives on. She is the one who destroyed the economy of the NE. The tories will claim the old industries were dinosaurs, and were dying a slow death, but to destroy them WITH NO PLAN FOR WHAT YOU WILL REPLACE THEM WITH was madness and sheer vandalism. The resulting over-reliance on financial services and banking then resulted in the over exposure of this coutry to the banking crash. That is why there is a problem, it has nothing to do with the hard working Poles, Latvians etc... who are picking your vegetables, stacking the supermarket shelves, and staffing the late night petrol stations. This xenophobic campaign against eastern europeans is simply ridiculous, as it was a generation ago when it was against the asians, and 2 generations ago when it was against the blacks, and when it was against the irish, etc... This country is a mongrel nation, and we are stronger and fitter for it, more often than not the eastern europeans, like their multiple predecesors are taking the jobs we struggled to fill before they came, they are taking the low paid jobs, working unsocial hours, doing hard manual labour, the jobs native people didn't want to do. It is very easy for racists and xenophobes to point at "foreigners" and blame them for all the ills visited on a country, but the last time that was really the problem was with William the conqueror. Simple fact, proven by ONS figures, the eastern european immigrants are net contributors to the country. bambara
  • Score: 3

9:52am Mon 7 Apr 14

SirLance says...

There is no job for life anymore, in fact there haven't been jobs for life for many years! The NE has priced itself out of contention with no hope to compete against Far Eastern competitors! look at the shipbuilding industry! The Koreans and Japanese were building bigger , better , faster and cheaper whilst the NE was striking and demanding more money! The NE were still side launching ships on Tyneside when Korea and Japan had massive dry dock facilities! Even Portugal ( Lisnave in Lisbon) and Spain ( Astano in El Ferrol , and Cartegena) had better shipyards than the UK. why ? They were a better return for the investment made to build them! No investor wants to back a 'non runner' and that's what the NE has become. Yes you have had some investors from Nissan and Hitachi but that's just down to the the UK Government's subsidies! The Eastern Europeans never had any 'nanny state' welfare , that's why they know the importance to work hard! The NE has become work shy and lazy! Look around folks!! where does the cartoon strip 'Andy Capp' character originate from? Work harder and get the Government to build motorways to reach farther North! Now't comes for now't.
There is no job for life anymore, in fact there haven't been jobs for life for many years! The NE has priced itself out of contention with no hope to compete against Far Eastern competitors! look at the shipbuilding industry! The Koreans and Japanese were building bigger , better , faster and cheaper whilst the NE was striking and demanding more money! The NE were still side launching ships on Tyneside when Korea and Japan had massive dry dock facilities! Even Portugal ( Lisnave in Lisbon) and Spain ( Astano in El Ferrol , and Cartegena) had better shipyards than the UK. why ? They were a better return for the investment made to build them! No investor wants to back a 'non runner' and that's what the NE has become. Yes you have had some investors from Nissan and Hitachi but that's just down to the the UK Government's subsidies! The Eastern Europeans never had any 'nanny state' welfare , that's why they know the importance to work hard! The NE has become work shy and lazy! Look around folks!! where does the cartoon strip 'Andy Capp' character originate from? Work harder and get the Government to build motorways to reach farther North! Now't comes for now't. SirLance
  • Score: 2

12:20pm Mon 7 Apr 14

Spy Boy says...

We need more good jobs in the area. We don't need more and more minimum wage dead end jobs for our working people. We need better long term jobs for our kids too. As for the blame. It started in 1979, so you work it out.
We need more good jobs in the area. We don't need more and more minimum wage dead end jobs for our working people. We need better long term jobs for our kids too. As for the blame. It started in 1979, so you work it out. Spy Boy
  • Score: -2

1:39pm Mon 7 Apr 14

David Lacey says...

It started long before that. The shipyards and car factories were destroyed 10 years earlier.
It started long before that. The shipyards and car factories were destroyed 10 years earlier. David Lacey
  • Score: 4

2:56am Wed 9 Apr 14

SirLance says...

Tyneside's 'Swan Hunters' built oil tankers called the Esso Northumbria and the Texaco Westminster at an old fashioned ill equipped yard and the customers who bought those two VLCC 's (Very Large Crude Carriers) had nightmares running and maintaining them! Google the names to find out how 'successful they were not! Spy Boy is wrong David Lacey is correct! This lack of investment was apparent in the 60's. There was no vision! BP had a fleet of 96 tankers in the late 60's and early 70's They sold the old tankers to Iran (The then Shah approved the purchase). BP then concentrated on VLCC's mostly made in Japanese (Mitsubishi) and European yards, not British! By even loading a VLCC to capacity BP could just wait as the oil cargo value increased on the world markets! They would load in the Persian gulf in the summer and slow speed to Europort for selling in Autumn ahead of the cold winters ! Great business sense, but nothing built in Britain!--Ask yourself why!!
Tyneside's 'Swan Hunters' built oil tankers called the Esso Northumbria and the Texaco Westminster at an old fashioned ill equipped yard and the customers who bought those two VLCC 's (Very Large Crude Carriers) had nightmares running and maintaining them! Google the names to find out how 'successful they were not! Spy Boy is wrong David Lacey is correct! This lack of investment was apparent in the 60's. There was no vision! BP had a fleet of 96 tankers in the late 60's and early 70's They sold the old tankers to Iran (The then Shah approved the purchase). BP then concentrated on VLCC's mostly made in Japanese (Mitsubishi) and European yards, not British! By even loading a VLCC to capacity BP could just wait as the oil cargo value increased on the world markets! They would load in the Persian gulf in the summer and slow speed to Europort for selling in Autumn ahead of the cold winters ! Great business sense, but nothing built in Britain!--Ask yourself why!! SirLance
  • Score: 0

6:26pm Thu 10 Apr 14

Simple guesswork says...

Yes it was the greed and short sightedness of British capitalism that has contributed to our decline, not the inability of ordinary people to work hard.
Austerity is another ill thought out policy that will add further to Britain's decline. Forcing wages down rather than investing in new technologies like green industries will not help the UK compete with countries like China.
It was a Tory Prime Minister, Edward Heath who said to the CBI, IF you will not invest, we (the Government) will have to do it for you. Tony Benn tried to put this into practice. We need more arguments for Socialism!
Yes it was the greed and short sightedness of British capitalism that has contributed to our decline, not the inability of ordinary people to work hard. Austerity is another ill thought out policy that will add further to Britain's decline. Forcing wages down rather than investing in new technologies like green industries will not help the UK compete with countries like China. It was a Tory Prime Minister, Edward Heath who said to the CBI, IF you will not invest, we (the Government) will have to do it for you. Tony Benn tried to put this into practice. We need more arguments for Socialism! Simple guesswork
  • Score: 0

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