Leading Labour councillors on Cambridgeshire County Council have called on the Tories at Shire Hall to follow suit after it was announced that Tory-run South Cambridgeshire District Council has agreed to pay all staff the Living Wage. This move follows several attempts by the County Labour Group to persuade the authority to pay staff the Living Wage, currently set at £7.85 per hour, as well as all contractors and agency staff.
South Cambridgeshire District Council will be increasing pay for all staff by 1% with a further 1% rise at the start of the next financial year. But South Cambridgeshire still lags behind Labour-run Cambridge City Council, which recently became an officially accredited Living Wage employer after the authority agreed the Living Wage for all contractors and agency staff.
Cllr Ashley Walsh, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group at Shire Hall,
said: "The Living Wage is a vital weapon in the fight against low pay and poverty. We would like to see South Cambridgeshire match Cambridge City Council by paying the Living Wage to contract and agency staff.
Still, I am thrilled that Tories in South Cambridgeshire have worked positively with the unions for the Living Wage and I am calling on their Shire Hall colleagues to join with us and do the same at the County Council.
"Labour has consistently called for the County Council to pay the Living Wage and at our most recent attempt at the budget meeting in February
2014 the proposal came in at £418,000. This cost is something an authority worth hundreds of millions of pounds like the County Council can afford with all sorts of hidden benefits like reduced absenteeism, better retention, higher productivity and boosted morale.
"Liberal Democrats on the City Council oppose Labour's Living Wage campaign - involving a central coordinator spearheading efforts to persuade local businesses to pay the Living Wage - but I hope the Lib Dems' County colleagues will show them how misguided they are by supporting Labour's efforts at Shire Hall."