CAMBRIDGE City Council took part in special events and initiatives to celebrate this year’s national Living Wage Week from 5-11 November.
To start the week the Living Wage Foundation announced that the new Living Wage pay rate for 2017-18 will be £8.75 per hour outside London. At the same time the council pledged to explore the feasibility of paying its own staff a minimum of £10 per hour from 2018.
During the week the council ran an event that was hosted by Allia Future Business Centre for employers who are already accredited as Living Wage employers, and those wishing to find out about becoming one.
At the event Dr Anna Barford of the University of Cambridge spoke to attendees about the history of Living Wage movements, and the role of the Real Living Wage in alleviating poverty and inequality in Cambridge.
The council also shared how helping employers achieve Living Wage accreditation with the Living Wage Foundation is a fundamental part of its Anti-poverty Strategy aimed at tackling inequality in the city.
The Leader of the Council, Cllr Lewis Herbert, congratulated the organisations accredited as Living Wage employers this year who attended the event.
These included Allia Ltd, RH Partnership Architects, Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum, Cambridge University Students’ Union and OFO UK Ltd.
The council also ran a stall at Cambridge market during the week, to publicise the Real Living Wage campaign to residents and visitors to the city.
The council has been promoting the Real Living Wage since it became accredited as a Living Wage employer in 2014.
There are currently 55 employers in Cambridge accredited with the Living Wage Foundation to demonstrate their commitment to paying staff the Real Living Wage. The council has directly supported 25 of these employers with accreditation.
Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Communities, said: “It has been great to spread the word to employers about the benefits of becoming an accredited Living Wage employer during Living Wage Week – and to celebrate those who have already done so.
“Since becoming accredited as a Living Wage employer ourselves, we have worked hard to promote the strong benefits to employers and employees, such as better staff retention, improved motivation for staff and an enhanced image for the employer.
“Cambridge remains an expensive place to live and work. By promoting the Real Living Wage and exploring the possibility of a £10 minimum wage for our own staff we hope that more and more people will be able to have the standard of living they deserve and earn a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”
Martin Clark, Deputy CEO of Allia, said: “Allia’s decision to adopt the Real Living Wage made an immediate difference to some of our staff in Cambridge, Peterborough and East London, as well as to our cleaning contractor.
“As an independent, not-for-profit with a social mission, whose values are all about impact on people, planet and place, it is important for us to show how much we value all of our team. We also hope it will encourage other organisations to do the same if they possibly can.”
James Timmins, operations manager at OFO UK Ltd, which became accredited this year, said: "We're proud to take a responsible approach to dockless bike sharing and be a constructive part of the local community.
“This means working with local bike shops to maintain our fleet, using cargo bikes and bicycle trailers to reduce pollution and congestion and paying all employees the Living Wage.
"We feel it's vital to have our own staff, employed directly, so we can provide the best service to our customers. Creating well paid local jobs wherever we launch is part of our commitment to benefiting local economies."