Gloucester City Council leads the way on paying a living wage
By The Citizen | Tuesday, January 29, 2013, 06:00
CITY leaders agreed to lead the way on low pay and encourage employers to adopt the national living wage of £7.45 an hour.
The living wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK and is higher than the minimum wage of £6.19 an hour.
It would mean an extra £2,500 per year for low-paid workers, and Labour group leader Councillor Kate Haigh (L, Matson and Robinswood) said the council's commitment to pay it should extend to other city firms and Gloucester City Council contractors.
"It has benefits for the local economy in that money is spent in local shops and businesses," she said at the council's full meeting on Thursday.
"It is a step towards fairness for those who work hard to support themselves and their families. For women, it helps to reduce pay inequalities. Employers who pay the living wage report increased productivity, decreased staff turnover and fewer staff problems." The council has just eight employees earning less than the living wage of £7.45 an hour and their wages should be at or above that level soon.
The minimum wage means a worker on a 37.5-hour week earns just over £12,000 a year. The living wage takes that to just over £14,500 a year.
Coun Haigh said the council should apply for the living wage kitemark, ask contractors whether they pay the living wage and ask partner agencies, firms and councils if they do too.
Liberal Democrat group leader Jeremy Hilton (Kingsholm and Wotton) wanted to amend her motion to recognise the Coalition Government was raising the tax threshold for the low paid but it was voted down. Her motion was voted through unanimously.
"I find it morally wrong to have people who don't have a living wage," said Councillor Fred Wood (C, Quedgeley Fieldcourt), the council's business ambassador.
"I think it's right we provide leadership on this."