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Lancashire, UK: Employers urged to sign up to pay their staff a ‘living wage’
Lancashire Evening Post

August 30, 2011
View the Original Article

Businesses in Preston are being asked to follow the lead of the city council and pay their workers a ‘living wage’.

Preston Council has been paying all staff and contracted agency staff a ‘living wage’ of £7.19 per hour since the end of 2008.

The authority is now making plans to get accredited as a living wage employer with the Living Wage Foundation.

After that, it plans to have its own accreditation scheme which would allow employers in Preston to call themselves a Preston Living Wage Employer if they pay £7.20 per hour to all their staff, excluding interns.

Labour councillor Matthew Brown, who initially suggested the idea, said: “We also want to work with the trade unions to get the supermarkets on board.

“We’re really moving on this.”

Council bosses also hope, when tendering new contracts for services, to ask those tenderers for their views on whether they are prepared to adopt the payment of a living wage.

The council cannot lawfully require contractors to comply but will take the response into consideration when exercising its value for money judgement.

A council report, due to be presented to cabinet on Wednesday, shows that 25% of Preston employees are paid less than £7 per hour.

The report said: “The council will aim to encourage and promote, on a case by case basis, that all employees of contractors working on qualifying service contracts be paid the Preston living wage.

“The council will encourage all employers, both directly and through their subcontractors, and promote the living wage principles when there are opportunities to so do in the city through regeneration projects or business location for example in the Central Business District (CBD).

“The council wishes to see the living wage paid to all those employed by businesses in Preston.”