Leeds City Council proposes real living wage

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Proposals to pay council staff a ‘real’ living wage are expected to be approved by senior councillors next week.

Members of Leeds City Council’s executive board will consider plans to pay its staff a minimum of £8.01 from April 2016 at a meeting on Wednesday, September 23.

The move would mean that around 3,600 council employees - including casual staff and apprentices - as well as 4,200 school-based staff in maintained schools would benefit.

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Coun Judith Blake, council leader, said: “Here in Leeds we are well aware that in-work poverty is on the increase across the country and is one of the biggest challenges we face as a city. But this is a challenge we are facing head on.

By paying our own staff a ‘real’ minimum wage, which is over 80 pence more than the government’s national minimum wage, we are demonstrating our commitment and support to our own lower paid workers.

“These are people who work tirelessly for the citizens of Leeds and are the backbone of the council, without whom we could not provide the standard of services our residents expect.”

The council has already agreed to adopt West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Low Pay Charter, meaning staff would be paid a living wage - currently £7.85 an hour. The amount proposed is also higher than the £7.20 national minimum wage announced in July.

Coun Blake added: “This increase will also have a knock-on effect on the wider Leeds economy as lower paid staff will be increasingly able to start benefitting from and contributing to the economic recovery in Leeds, as well as sending a clear signal to local businesses that there is a drive to build the economy and to become a more compassionate city.”

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