Living wage for Bradford Council staff would cost £4 million a year (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Living wage for Bradford Council staff would cost £4 million a year
7:00am Thursday 19th September 2013 in News
Introducing the living wage to Bradford Council employees could cost the authority almost £4 million a year, a report has warned.
The move would give pay rises to around 2,000 of the Council’s lowest- paid workers but a new report has highlighted a number of potential problems.
The living wage, designed to provide a worker with the essentials for family life, is currently £7.45 per hour – around £14,300 a year.
Unlike the minimum wage, which next month goes up to £6.31 per hour, it is not a legal requirement.
But so far 22 councils across the UK have agreed to pay all their workers the rate and another 38 are in the process of introducing it.
Last year Bradford Council asked its Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee to have an in-depth look at whether they could follow suit.
A draft version of its final report has now been published, which reveals Bradford Council currently employs 2,265 people on salaries lower than the living wage.
These include gardeners, cleaners, cooks, security guards, drivers, homecare providers and refuse workers.
To pay all these people a living wage would cost the Council around £2.7million a year. If the district’s schools were included in the new policy, this sum would rise to £3.9 million.
The report also highlights a number of other problems, such as the impact on people who currently earn just above the living wage. For example, it would mean cleaners getting paid the same salary as supervisors.
And it says the policy could damage the Council’s competitiveness. Schools, for instance, can take a contract out with the Council to provide cleaning staff but if the cost of this rose, they could start looking for cheaper contracts elsewhere.
The report says: “Members of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee understand the argument for paying a living wage to its employees, in that it allows for a decent standard of living by addressing deprivation.
“Nevertheless, members also feel the need to be cautious when considering implementing a living wage, in light of the feedback received during the course of this review.”
The report also found that of the local authorities which had introduced the living wage, many of them had already outsourced a lot of their blue-collar work so didn’t have many low-paid staff.
Oxford Council, for example, had had to give a pay rise to only 30 workers.
The matter will be discussed when the committee meets on Wednesday.
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