Watered-down Living Wage proposal looking likely at Gloucestershire County Council
More than 100 Gloucestershire County Council employees are in line for a potential pay rise after Shire Hall bosses committed to considering paying a Living Wage when they set the authority’s next budget.
The Labour group has been pushing for the authority to adopt the Living Wage of £7.45 an hour – significantly higher than the minimum wage of £6.31 – for all of its staff who earn below that threshold.
But while the full scale rollout to almost 900 employees has been ruled out for now because the cost is too prohibitive, the council will vote on whether or not 119 directly employed staff who earn less than £7.45 an hour should receive a Living Wage supplement.
It means that the close to 800 people who work in education in Gloucestershire who earn less than the Living Wage will not benefit.
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But for the directly employed staff such a commitment would be worth up to an extra £2,500 a year in wages.
The council’s Conservative cabinet today agreed to officers drawing up a report costing the measure which will then be considered by the authority when it sets its next budget in February.
The commitment, which if voted through would be reviewed every year, represents a watered down version of what the Labour group is fighting for.
But Councillor Steve Lydon (Lab, Dursley), who has led the battle to introduce the Living Wage at the authority, believes the latest development is a step in the right direction.
He said: “Introducing a Living Wage supplement for 119 council employees would be a vital first step forward and we welcome the cabinet’s decision to consider it as part of the budget process.
“But a Living Wage supplement would only be the start of the journey.
“The Labour Party will continue to campaign for the creation of a Gloucestershire Living Wage. It is important that the county council leads by example.”
Councillor Mark Hawthorne (C, Quedgeley), leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “Cabinet has agreed that the proposal should be worked up by officers as part of the budget process.
“All councillors will then decide whether the council adopts this policy during the budget meeting in February.”