Living Wage in RCT Moves a Stage Closer

Cabinet will today (Thursday) consider the detail of introducing the Living Wage following a commitment given by the Council Leader in June.

Cllr Andrew Morgan outlined last June why he felt it was the right decision for the Council, its staff and the wider community, for the local authority to become a living wage employer.

Detailed proposals to introduce the living wage from October 2015 will now be discussed today (Thursday) by the Cabinet.

Over three and a half thousand Council employees will benefit from this decision. The report recommends moving to £7:50 per hour this October and to £7:85 per hour from 1st April 2016.

County Borough Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, said: “In June I set out why I felt the Council should become a living wage employer and subsequently asked Council Officers to bring forward proposals for consideration by Cabinet which we will now discuss next week.

“I am firmly of the opinion that our staff are one of this Council’s most valuable assets, and it is deeply unfortunate that they have, over the last two years, borne the brunt of austerity and will inevitably continue to do so in the future.

“This, I believe, is the right decision, not just for Rhondda Cynon Taf, but for any employer.

“As a public sector organisation, I believe we have a duty to set the right example and this is why Cabinet is today (Thursday) discussing the introductory arrangements for the Living Wage in Rhondda Cynon Taf over the next financial year.

“There will of course be a cost to this proposal, but I am firmly of the view that such a move will protect those employees who would benefit from the Living Wage from the detrimental impact a further five years of austerity will have on their living standards.

“My colleagues and I took this decision well in advance of the Chancellor’s decisions to badge up the National Minimum Wage as a National Living Wage.

“The report rightly proposes that the Council sets its Living Wage at the rate set independently by the Centre for Research into Social Policy at Loughborough University.

"We may, as a Council, have a limited ability to shield our communities from the cuts we continue to receive in ever increasing levels from the UK Government, but I firmly believe, as the largest employer locally, that the introduction of the Living Wage has the potential to deliver wider benefits to the local economy.

"We have made tackling poverty one of our key priorities and by increasing the income for our lowest-paid staff we can help to improve their standard of living.

"Our lowest-paid staff undertake some of the most important and challenging jobs in the Council on a daily basis, delivering services which are heavily relied upon by the public and they should therefore be paid a decent salary for their work.

"This is about making sure people have a decent wage and in doing so provide a boost to the local economy because people will have a little extra money to spend in local shops which will in turn support local businesses. Almost four thousand employees would benefit from this proposal.”

The main job groups potentially to benefit from this decision include Supervisory Assistants, General Kitchen Assistants, Assistant Cooks, Caretakers, Cleaners, School Crossing Patrol Officers, Special Need Support Assistants and Teachers Aides. The cost of implementing the Living Wage for a full year would be £1.2M.

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