Work: Women suffer real-terms pay cut

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Some of the lowest-paid workers in the country - all women - have suffered a wage cut of up to pounds 5 a week over the past year, according to a report published today. The worst-paid childcare assistant earned pounds 115 a week last year, compared to pounds 120 12 months earlier, while hairdressers and cleaners saw their pay dip below pounds 100, a cut of over pounds 4.

The Low Pay Unit, which compiled the report using figures from the Government's New Earnings Survey, called for sweeping changes to pay legislation to help women achieve genuine wage equality.

Pay had deteriorated rapidly since 1993, when the Government abolished Wages Councils, said the unit.