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82 Councils Pay Living Wage

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

82 Councils In England And Wales And 32 Councils In Scotland Committed To Pay Staff Living Wage GMB Congress Told

Ed Miliband has given strong personal support to living wage campaign and GMB seek living wage commitment in Labours next manifesto for every job in every part of the UK

GMB Congress in Plymouth was today told that of the 400 councils In England and Wales there are now 82 paying or committed to pay their staff the living wage. In addition all 32 councils in Scotland are now living wage employers paying their staff at least the living wage.

The councils in England and Wales are:

Ashfield District Council, LB Barking and Dagenham, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, Bassetlaw District Council , Blackpool Council, Birmingham City Council, Braintree District Council, LB Brent, Brighton and Hove City Council, Bristol City Council, Bromsgrove District Council, Burnley Borough Council, Caerphilly County Borough Council, Cambridge City Council, Cherwell District Council, Calderdale Council, LB Camden, Cardiff Council, Carlisle City Council Chorley Borough Council, City of London Corporation, Coventry City Council, Crawley Borough Council, Croydon Council, Dartford Borough Council, Deal Town Council, LB Ealing, LB Enfield, Gedling District Council, Gloucester City Council, LB Greenwich, LB Haringey, Harlow District Council, LB Harrow, LB Hounslow, Hyndburn Borough Council, Ipswich Borough Council, LB Islington, North Kesteven District Council, LB Lambeth, Leicester City Council, LB Lewisham, Mansfield District Council, Manchester City Council, Melton Mowbray District Council, Newark and Sherwood District Council, LB Newham, Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council, Newcastle City Council, Newport City Council, Norwich City Council, Nottingham City Council, Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council, Oxford City Council, Plymouth City Council, Preston City Council, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, Rossendale Borough Council, Salford City Council, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, Scarborough Borough Council, Sheffield City Council, Slough Borough Council, South Gloucestershire Council, LB Southwark, Surrey County Council, Swindon Borough Council, Swansea City and County Council, Tamworth Borough Council, Thurrock Council, LB Tower Hamlets, South Tyneside Council, Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council, Winchester City Council, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council, Worcester City Council, Wolverhampton City Council, Wyre Forest District Council and City or York Council.

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, told GMB Congress “There are now 82 councils in England and Wales and well as 32 councils in Scotland paying or committed to pay their staff the living wage

That is real progress. That is tens of thousands of council workers getting paid more fairly and being less reliant on benefits and having dignity and respect for the work they do.

We have achieved this progress mainly in Labour councils

I am pleased to say that this is one policy area in which labour and the GMB stand shoulder to shoulder. Ed Miliband and Rachel Reeves have given strong personal support to our living wage campaign and I hope it will feature as a key policy commitment in Labours next manifesto.

That will give it a massive extra boost which we do need not just to crack open all the other councils but to take it all the way out into every job in every sector in every part of the UK.”

End

Contact Brian Strutton 07860 606 137 or Kamaljeet Jandu 07956 237 178 or Gary Doolan 07852 182 358

 

Notes to editors

Brian Strutton Speech to Congress 5th June President , Congress

Brian Strutton, National Secretary, speaking on behalf of the CEC in response to motion 202.

Motion 202 calls for a living wage campaign focussing on the care sector.

The CEC is supporting this motion with a qualification which i will explain.

Be in no doubt that the CEC wholeheartedly supports the call for a living wage as the minimum standard in the care sector.

Of course we do.

But much of social care is provided through private sector suppliers while the vast majority is paid for by the public sector.

Therefore the goal we seek, of a living wage standard throughout the care sector, will not be achievable without a concurrent campaign for proper funding.

Please therefore support motion 202 with the qualification that we need to campaign on both fronts, wages and funding, to have a realistic prospect of success in this deserving cause.

Living wage

Colleagues the national minimum wage is £6.19 an hour and will rise to £6.30 from first October.

It was a great Labout achievement to bring that in. As a major step towards alleviating poverty.

Despite all those nayersayers who claimed that it would cost millions of jobs.

It didn't. And it has been a great success. But the minimum wage only does what it says on the tin.

It is a minimum. A bare minimum.

GMB has long argued that the national minimum wage is too low.

And so the concept of the living wage was born. Based not on a minimum standard of living.

And certainly not a luxurious lifestyle. But a reasonable standard of living.

Designed by economists the living wage is £7.45 an hour and £ 8.55 in London.

Over a pound an hour more than the minimum wage. It is set so as to be a reflection of the true cost of living. Which at the lowest levels of pay, is more, than at higher rates of pay

Thats because the things that form the highest proportion of costs, things like water bills and gas bills and electricity bills and fuel and food.

Are the things that have seen the greatest level of inflation.

It isnt the headline inflation number that matters. It's the real cost of living that is actually hurting people.

That leads to two things. Firstly, what has become known as in work poverty.Secondly, the recognition of this through topping up low pay through the benefits system.

It is a crazy and shameful fact that the majority of welfare benefits are paid to people in work

How ridiculous is that? How demeaning to those workers. How economically inefficient.

Because you see what it means. Is that employers are getting away with cheapskate pay levels topped up by the state through in work benefits

Thats the taxpayer subsidising low wage employers

We see that in the care sector

In cleaning jobs

In catering and hospitality

In retail

So often sharing this common feature

That they are jobs done by women

More often than not part time

So gmb is absolutely clear

Everyone should be paid at least the living wage

Everywhere

And nowhere is the madness and shame of low wages topped up by benefits more stupid than in the public sector

It's a scandal that 280,000 local government workers in england wales and northern ireland are paid less than the living wage.

And thats where we started the GMB national campaign for the living wage in January of this year

Aimed at persuading every council to become a living wage employer.

Starting with theirown staff.

Extending to agency and contract workers and suppliers.

Building then out to the whole local business community bringing in the private sector as well

That is our strategy.

When we kicked our campaign off in january, some councils had already started to introduce the living wage.

Since then GMB has engaged in negotiations with 170 councils in England, Wales and in Northern Ireland

In Scotland all 32 local authorities are now living wage employers paying their staff at least the living wage

Great credit to our GMB Scotland colleagues for that tremendous achievement

Joyce cooper from gmb fife branch told me that thanks to the living wage some 2000 staff had a pay rise of up to 18%

Thats brilliant.

Thats why we believe in it.

So well done Scotland.

But how have we been getting on in the rest of the UK?

Well let's have a look.

Here's the roll of honour.

Out of four hundred councils there are now 82 paying or committed to pay their staff the living wage.

Thats real progress

Thats tens of thousands of council workers getting paid more fairly.

And being less reliant on benefits.

Having dignity and respect for the work they do

We have achieved this progress mainly in Labour councils

And i am pleased to say that this is one policy area in which Labour and the GMB stand shoulder to shoulder

Ed Miliband and Rachel Reeves have given strong personal support to our living wage campaign.

And i hope it will feature as a key policy commitment in labours next manifesto.

That will give it a massive extra boost.

Which we do need.

Not just to crack open all the other councils.

But to take it all the way out into every job in every sector in every part of the UK.

I recently spoke about this at labour local government day in chesterfield.

It was so encouraging to hear council after council saying that now they had introduced the living wage for their staff.

They were now preparing for the next stages.

And many already had plans.

For how they would engage local private sector businesses.

In their areas.

With the firm intention of naming and shaming those businesses who would not sign up.

To a living wage commitment.

Thats the way to do it.

No employer should be allowed any more to get away with poverty pay subsidised by the state.

Nobody should be paid less than the living wage.

No more should the whole economy be propped up by an exploited class of part time low paid jobs.

Our care worker members. our schools members, our retail members, our security members and everyone else deserves at least the living wage.

And if that means taking action so be it. We will do whatever it takes to wipe out poverty pay

Congress. That is our challenge to ourselves. It will be one hell of a battle. But as Paul Kenny said to you yesterday. It's one we are very happy to take on.

 

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