Council leader to wait before deciding on Living Wage

Council leader to wait before deciding on Living Wage

Council leader to wait before deciding on Living Wage

First published in News Worcester News: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

A DECISION on whether to pay council staff in Worcester the official Living Wage beyond next spring will not be made until around Christmas, it has emerged.

The city's leader Councillor Simon Geraghty has admitted he will have a lot of thinking to do before committing to the rates for the long-term.

Back in November last year the old Labour administration agreed to give its lowest-paid staff the rate of £7.65 an hour.

It came into force from January, but was only a 'temporary' agreement to be reviewed after 12 months.

Cllr Geraghty says the new Conservative leadership is not prepared to make changes in the current financial year, which runs until the end of March.

But staff looking for answers beyond next March will have to wait until December time for a firm indication. Last year all 15 Conservative councillors voted against introducing the Living Wage and it only came into force after Labour, Green and Lib Dem support.

At the time there were concerns over it de-motivating workers already earning slightly above that rate, fears over the costs and potential confusion over the pay brackets being blurred.

If the council did scrap the rates and revert back to the minimum wage it would be a bitter blow for the lowest paid.

The pay rise benefited 73 people, including cleaners and temporary workers helping out on summer holiday activities.

Cllr Geraghty said: "We'll have to look at it carefully before taking a view, and take into account both the costs and benefits.

"In terms of the workforce we'd have to look at all the issues like wage inflation, we know that has started to slowly creep up and whether we'd have problems filling any of the vacancies.

"It's certainly not something we'd look to change in-year, that would be unfair, but when we get to around December time and start to pull together next year's budget that's when we will start to look at this."

The Living Wage is calculated by a panel of academics, and differs from the £6.31-an-hour minimum wage, in that employers have no legal obligation to pay it.

It will cost taxpayers £25,000 this year, and if carried on could top £75,000 per annum by 2017/18.

By launching a temporary Living Wage deal, it means the council is not tied into having to implement any sudden rises.

Comments (3)

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1:14pm Thu 7 Aug 14

3thinker says...

This just goes to help dispel the myth that we're 'all in it together'. The freeze on public sector wages, downward pressure on private sector wages and massive cuts in benefit that have been introduced to help bail out bankers have disproportionately affected the low paid.

If Simple Simon and chums could see the bigger picture they'd be making the Living Wage permanent for Council staff, but also use their example to encourage local private sector employers to do the same. In doing so the low paid would claim less in benefits and have more money to spend with local shops and businesses thereby helping to boost the local economy and create more jobs.

Conservative myopia meant they initially resisted the minimum wage. It looks as though history is about to repeat itself.
This just goes to help dispel the myth that we're 'all in it together'. The freeze on public sector wages, downward pressure on private sector wages and massive cuts in benefit that have been introduced to help bail out bankers have disproportionately affected the low paid. If Simple Simon and chums could see the bigger picture they'd be making the Living Wage permanent for Council staff, but also use their example to encourage local private sector employers to do the same. In doing so the low paid would claim less in benefits and have more money to spend with local shops and businesses thereby helping to boost the local economy and create more jobs. Conservative myopia meant they initially resisted the minimum wage. It looks as though history is about to repeat itself. 3thinker
  • Score: 0

2:18pm Thu 7 Aug 14

Phil04 says...

Keeping the living wage for Worcester employees is the honest thing to do. Perhaps paying our senior management less would fund this.
Keeping the living wage for Worcester employees is the honest thing to do. Perhaps paying our senior management less would fund this. Phil04
  • Score: -1

6:16pm Thu 7 Aug 14

3thinker says...

I'd like to make a suggestion.

Last year Cllr Geraghty claimed £25,519.56 in expenses from the County Council as Deputy Leader.

I assume, as Leader at the City, he'll be getting a similar amount (?).

If, like other parts of the country the District and County Council's were to merge into a single Unitary Council this saving alone on one councillors expenses would be enough to give all 73 of the lowest paid workers at the City Council a Living Wage.

Is it going to happen. Of course not. Councillors at the City and County prefer to sack and privatise more workers and cut services to balance the books rather than looking at the major savings a merger could bring and without affecting local services.

There's constant talk in Conservative ranks about operating more like the private sector, yet the most obvious thing to do is ignored as it threatens their ability to be a career politician at the Council Taxpayers expense.

Shame on you.
I'd like to make a suggestion. Last year Cllr Geraghty claimed £25,519.56 in expenses from the County Council as Deputy Leader. I assume, as Leader at the City, he'll be getting a similar amount (?). If, like other parts of the country the District and County Council's were to merge into a single Unitary Council this saving alone on one councillors expenses would be enough to give all 73 of the lowest paid workers at the City Council a Living Wage. Is it going to happen. Of course not. Councillors at the City and County prefer to sack and privatise more workers and cut services to balance the books rather than looking at the major savings a merger could bring and without affecting local services. There's constant talk in Conservative ranks about operating more like the private sector, yet the most obvious thing to do is ignored as it threatens their ability to be a career politician at the Council Taxpayers expense. Shame on you. 3thinker
  • Score: 0

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