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A Living Wage for Newcastle

November 3, 2012

I am writing to tell you about the progress we are making towards a Living Wage for Newcastle and to ask that you consider exploring what a Living Wage could mean for your organisation, staff and customers.

Last year, as Council Leader, I established an independent Living Wage Advisory Panel to look at how this could be implemented in Newcastle. I did this because I believe that a Living Wage is about the Council and wider society sending a clear message that we value the low paid staff doing vital jobs such as cleaners, supervisory assistants and kitchen assistants. Without their hard work, our city would grind to a halt.

As part of its work the Panel considered a wide range of evidence as well as visiting other parts of the country to look at how they were implementing a Living Wage. In April this year, the Panel published its final report, setting out 10 recommendations on how a Living Wage could be implemented in Newcastle. Following this, I am delighted to announce that, from November this year, the Council will start to pay a local Living Wage of £7.20 to its lowest paid employees.

But we do not want the Living Wage to be about just Council staff. We want to encourage employers from across the city to commit to at least exploring what a Living Wage could mean for them.

At a Living Wage event held last month in the city we listened to employers from all sectors so we know this will not be straightforward – we understand the difficult economic climate and some of the challenges this could present for different organisations and firms. But a Living Wage makes good business sense too; research shows that putting more money into the pockets of the lowest paid means more is spent in local shops giving a welcome boost to our economy. And there are additional benefits in terms of easier recruitment and retention of staff; better attendance and reduced sickness absence; better productivity, motivation and loyalty; and, better quality of service for customers.

The first ever annual week-long celebration of the Living Wage and Living Wage Employers in the UK will take place from 4th-10th November. This presents a great opportunity for your organisation to consider at least exploring what a Living Wage could mean.

If you are an employer in the city then we would be delighted to share with you our knowledge and experience of implementing a Living Wage. If you are interested in exploring the concept of a Living Wage or finding out more about the Council’s approach to this, please contact Kathy Waugh: kathy.j.waugh@newcastle.gov.uk or (0191) 211 5243.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    November 6, 2012 10:55 am

    Yet disgustingly one of my (supposedly) Labour Councillors doesn’t support this, doesn’t support people being paid a living wage. This from a representative of one of not only the poorest, most deprived, wards in the City, but in the country.

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