By Canterbury Labour Party / JobsServices / 0 Comments

Why the council needs to become a Real Living Wage Employer

The Living Wage campaign is an independent movement of businesses, organisations and people who believe a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. Employers choosing to pay the real Living Wage on a voluntary basis get access to a ethical benchmark for responsible pay, but for council’s it is also a way of ensuring their own staff and contractors in the local economy receive a basic wage, tackling poverty from the bottom up.

Many people in our community find that even though they are working full time on the government’s national living wage of £8.21 an hour they are still struggling to make ends meet. 1 in 5 employees (22%) in the UK earn below the Living Wage. That’s nearly a quarter of the UK workforce and nearly a 1/3 (26%) of working women in the UK. Two thirds of children in poverty have a parent in work.

The real Living Wage is independently calculated every year based on what employees and their families need to get by, including what people need for a decent standard of living and to participate fully in society. This includes things like housing, transport to work and heating, but also enough for a small birthday celebration or a trip to the cinema.

Paying the real Living Wage rate of £9 per hour (£10.55 in London) can mean the difference between employees just about managing and having the funds to deal with those unexpected costs and little extras and can change people’s lives, putting money back into the pockets of the lowest paid workers.

Not only that, but the real Living Wage is good for business. In a 2016 survey of accredited Living Wage employers by Cardiff Business School, 93% employers reported they had benefited from accreditation, 86% reported an enhanced reputation as an employer, 76% of large organisations reported improved recruitment and retention and 78% of large employers reported an increase staff motivation.

Labour committed the council to paying its staff the real living wage in 2010 but we want it to go further an become an Accreditted Real Living Wage council, committing itself to also pay its contractors the same.

The Living Wage campaign enjoys cross-party political support. Councils and Local Authorities across the country from Aberdeen to York have already accredited as Living Wage employers, joining a growing movement of over 5000 businesses and organisations across the UK who believe a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.

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