Leeds City Council Announces Plans to Raise Minimum Pay for Council Staff to Match ‘Real Living Wage’

Leeds City Council has announced it will raise the minimum wage for staff in line with the new ‘real’ Living Wage. This move is despite having its budget cut by £266m over the last decade.

The increase in minimum wage for council staff was confirmed by council leader Judith Blake during Living Wage Week after the National Living Wage Foundation recommended the increase in the Living Wage by 30p to £9.30 per hour. 

The Living Wage Foundation is a campaign organisation in the United Kingdom which aims to persuade employers to pay a Living Wage: an independently-calculated recommended minimum wage to cover workers’ basic needs. 

Leeds Council staff will receive this new hourly rate as a minimum from April 2020, rising from the current minimum wage of £9.18 per hour for the council’s workers. The £9.30 figure for Leeds City Council staff would be  £1.09 per hour higher than the Government’s national living wage of £8.21 for workers aged over 25. This difference in hourly rate is equivalent to almost £2000 more a year for council staff.

This move to increase the wages of its staff comes in light of earlier reports in January of this year from Leeds City Council, that drew attention to the fact that in Leeds more than 67,000 working people are earning less than £8.75-an-hour.

The figure the Living Wage Foundation charity claims people need to live. Further, in October of this year, Council leader Judith Blake supported proposals sent by Unison, GMB and Unite trade unions to central government asking for a 10% “uplift” on all pay levels, as well as a minimum wage of £10 per hour. This call came as a response to government cuts which mean most council workers have seen their pay fall by over a fifth since 2010.

Responding to this latest move to increase council worker pay Blake said:

“We are pleased to confirm all Leeds City Council staff will as a minimum receive the new national Living Wage Foundation rate of £9.30 per hour from April 2020. This will apply to all workers aged over 16.”

Blake linked the move in raising council staff pay to the current political and economic climate, saying that:

“At a time when in-work poverty is increasing, it is important organisations pay a minimum pay rate that staff are able to live on. We believe this demonstrates how much we value our workers who provide valuable front line services to the city of Leeds, including keeping communities clean, looking after those in need, and keeping the city running.”