Borough agrees to Living Wage

LW logoApproximately 20 employees of Eastleigh Borough Council are set to benefit from a decision to pay them the Living Wage.

Currently set at £7.45 per hour outside of London, the Living Wage is an hourly rate that is updated on an annual basis, according to the basic cost of living in the UK.  It has been supported by the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, but is calculated independently of Government.

For employees, the Living Wage compares favourably to the statutory National Minimum Wage of £6.19 per hour. However, it is voluntary and many employers still choose to pay only the statutory minimum.

The Living Wage Foundation and its supporters argue that work is the surest way out of poverty and that paying the Living Wage makes good business sense. Those employers who do see the light, can apply to be accredited as a Living Wage Employer.

Eastleigh Borough Council agreed to implement the Living Wage at a recent Cabinet meeting. In a press release, the Borough Council say;

Councillors approved a recommendation to increase its hourly rate up to a minimum of £7.45. Around 20 members of staff who are currently on Grades 1 and 2 will benefit from the increase the hourly rate of pay which includes cleaners, caterers, cooks and youth workers. As a result of the increase the Council will pay out extra salaries worth around £20-25,000 per year.

Council Leader Keith House said;

“We are doing this by choice as it’s the right thing to do and encourage other employers to follow our lead. The cost is modest but will make a real difference to staff on low hourly rates.”

“Experience in other organisations shows the Living Wage improves staff retention productivity and loyalty too, it is a win win for all.”

Meanwhile, back in Keith House’s fortress Hedge End, the Town Council is taking a different approach.

Currently posted on the Hedge End Town Council website is this appeal for volunteers, to drive a minibus;

Hedge End Town Council wants the public to  volunteer, despite winning cash to fund this scheme...

Hedge End Town Council wants the public to volunteer, despite winning Central Government (Portas) cash to fund this scheme….

The Hedge End appeal for volunteers follows the Towns recent success in winning a £10K grant from Central Government, becoming a Town Team Partner last November, following its earlier unsuccessful bid for Portas money last year.

Hedge End’s innovation was praised by Chris Huhne at the time of the announcement, but the details of the scheme were unclear at the time.

We now know that despite the Town Council winning £10k cash to help get this scheme off the ground, the “innovation” includes recruiting volunteer drivers, who will donate their time to ferry passengers to and from the local shopping centres, so that local businesses can do more trade and make more money.

Eastleigh News asked Mary Portas press office for a comment on the use of volunteers in this way. We are still awaiting a reply…

  7 comments for “Borough agrees to Living Wage

  1. Keith Day
    June 15, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    It’s probably fair to polnt out that Hedge End Town Council was a living wage employer before Eastleigh Borough. Also that Eastleigh “exploits” volunteers too. You may be right about the Portas pilot, but HETC is no worse than EBC. As long as we have ConDem imposed austerity a lot of services will have to rely on volunteers or fold. That’s what Cameron and Clegg want.

    • June 18, 2013 at 6:07 pm

      Yes Keith, Hedge End became a Living Wage Employer before Eastleigh, as recorded in the F&A minutes of 2nd April. HETC just didn’t announce it as loudly as EBC did.

      All the more amazing though, if HETC is showing a genuine commitment to the Living Wage, that they call for volunteers to drive a minibus so that local business can make more money…

  2. Pete Stewart
    June 15, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Well I have to say i think it’s a good idea to pay a living wage. There is nothing more destructive to the local (and national) economy, than cheap labour. A society based on greed and profiteering would be doomed.

    As for asking for volunteer mini-bus drivers, I see nothing wrong in people giving their time to do this. Charitable giving of ones time may be the only thing which keeps a particular service operating (for the benefit of the whole community).

    Any chance of letting us read what the mini-bus poster says?

  3. June 18, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    The announcement on the HETC website reads;

    VOLUNTEER MINIBUS DRIVERS NEEDED

    Would you be able to give up a few hours of your time to help the community? Hedge End’s Town Team are currently looking for volunteer drivers to drive a 17 seater minibus on a regular basis. The Town Team have been working hard to establish routes, bus stops and drop off points, as well as sourcing a suitable community vehicle. Chairman Tim Gallagher (The TV Workshop) and Derek Firth (Thoughts) have kindly given up their spare time to complete ‘dry runs’ of routes to establish journey times and to ensure the bus service runs smoothly. The Town Team are currently meeting on a weekly basis to plan, progress and implement a free community bus and loyalty card scheme with the £10,000 awarded as part of the Portas Pilot project. The project aims to promote and improve Hedge End’s footfall in its town centre. If you would like to find out more or get involved contact Kevin Glyn-Davies 01489 780440 or email townclerk@hedgeend-tc.gov.uk

    I take a different view about volunteering Pete. There are times when it is very appropriate to volunteer and I would encourage that, but this Portas-funded new service in Hedge End isn’t one of them.

    The only mitigating circumstance perhaps, is that I think you have to be out of work to really understand how this request for volunteers looks. Because of the current trend to develop the Big Society, with volunteering being used to keep services going, I can see how HETC and the Town Team were suckered into making this ill-judged request…

  4. June 18, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Just one final thought;

    The benchmark test should be “If somebody else is making money out of my volunteering, it isn’t appropriate to volunteer…”

  5. June 22, 2013 at 3:36 am

    The bill would have required that developers subsidized by public dollars pay their employees the new rate, which, in New York City, hardly qualifies as a living wage.

  6. June 25, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Sam Snook on 25/06/2013.
    Time was when most people worked seven days a week- – 12hrs a day, and gave their spare time freely. They were elected by the local community as councillors and deemed it a privilege to serve their local community. Today Councillors seek reward-in it for the
    money-and have allowed council leaders to destroy democracy.
    I find it better to give…..than to take.

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