UNISON Southampton District has welcomed Southampton Solent University’s commitment to extend the payment of the Living Wage to staff employed by the main contractors used by the university.
The measure uplifts the pay of the lowest paid staff to a level calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. For several years UNISON has been actively campaigning for the introduction of the Living Wage for employees of the contractors which operate within the university and the union believes this to be an important step forward.
James Smith, UNISON Regional Organiser said
“We are delighted that the university has taken this positive step and encouraged that the time that UNISON members have devoted to campaigning on this issue, has ended with such an positive result. This decision will uplift the pay of the lowest paid staff who provide key services to the university and it’s students.
It has the potential to alleviate some of the financial pressures experienced by our members due to the increased cost of living in recent years. This measure will be good for the local economy and follows the decision of other large local employers in Southampton, such as the Labour-led Southampton City Council, to pay the Living Wage to their staff.”
All the University’s directly employed staff are already paid above the living wage rate. The three main contract service partners will make the uplift in wages to their staff working across the Solent campuses. The living wage rate is being introduced in two stages, the first increase on 1 August 2015 and with full alignment in September 2016. The decision has the potential to affect cleaning, maintenance and catering staff who provide services within the university sites.
UNISON is the UK’s largest public sector trade union with approximately 1.3 million members, many of whom are within university support services.
The idea behind a living wage is very simple: that a person should be paid enough to live decently and to adequately provide for their family. At its heart is an ethical argument for preventing in-work poverty and ensuring workers are not exploited through low wages.
The national minimum wage is too low
The adult rate for the statutory national minimum wage is currently £6.50 per hour. This has been proven to be too little for a person to make ends meet for themselves and their family.
The voluntary national living wage rate is currently £7.85 an hour, outside of London.
The voluntary London living wage is currently £9.15 an hour.
Some 4.8 million people, 20% of the working population, earn less than a living wage.
The taxpayer is subsidising poverty wages to the tune of £3.6bn a year, including £1.1bn in means-tested benefits.
UNISON is campaigning for a living wage
UNISON is campaigning both locally and nationally for a living wage.
We are campaigning across the country with low-paid workers for individual employers to pay the living wage and campaigning nationally for a new, higher statutory minimum which reflects the living wage.