A UNION has called on outsourcing giant Capita, which has major offices in Blackburn and Darwen, to pay furloughed employees the additional 20 per cent of their wages.

It says the company can afford to top up the government scheme.

Carl Webb, North-West secretary of the Communication Workers Union, said: “Our members deserve to be treated fairly by the company that they helped make £272.6m pre-tax profit for last year - we believe they can afford it!”

He has written to Capita on behalf of his 1,000 members across the region.

The firm has offices in the One Cathedral Square office block in Blackburn and India Mill in Darwen.

Capita has declined to comment but industry sources said just 10 employees in East Lancashire has been furloughed with dozens redeployed to other roles.

They added that Capita had yet to make any redundancies, had implemented temporary reductions in salary and scrapped bonuses for it senior management, and last month started paying its lowest earning staff the 'real living wage'.

The firm signed a ground-breaking deal to provide services for Blackburn with Darwen Council in 2001.

Mr Webb said: "We are urging Capita to follow the lead of many other multi-million-pound employers who will top-up the 20 per cent."

Blackburn with Darwen Council deputy leader Cllr Phil Riley said: "These are very difficult times but working people deserve every economic protection to which they are entitled."