A new labour market study in Germany shows that one in four workers are employed in the low-wage sector and take home less than two-thirds of the national average pay.
As reported in the Spiegel news weekly, the study by the Hans-Boeckler Foundation said the number of unemployed had fallen by two million from a level of 4.9 million in 2005, but that this had not led to more equality in wages.
The study said that 22.2% of workers, between six - eight million people, were employed in the low-wage sector in 2010, taking home less than two-thirds of the national average.
Their wages amounted to about 11 euros per hour in western German states and 8.3 euros in states that were formerly part of communist East Germany, a region which continues to lag economically behind the rest of the country.
AAP reports the Hans-Boeckler Foundation is close to the labour union movement,
"Germany has reached a level of inequality in the past two decades that is highly problematic in social and economic terms," said Gustav Horn, scientific director of the foundation's Institute for Macroeconomic and Economic Research, on Sunday.