Our Living wage motion was eventually voted through at the full council meeting earlier in the week. It was fairly heavily amended by the Labour group but I believe that their amendment strengthened the motion and furthered its aims rather than the traditional wrecking type amendment usually moved by another party.
Changing council policy is almost the easy part of the campaign though. I suspect we will have an uphill battle with the private sector in Reading. But at least things are moving now.
Feel free to support our Living wage Facebook group here.
Below is the text of the motion.
"This Council notes:
- That one in five Reading children live in poverty;
- The commitment to greater equality contained within Reading's Sustainable Community Strategy;
- That the minimum wage (£6.08 per hour as of October 1, 2011) has been a step forwards but that at its current level it is a poverty wage;
- The cross-party support which there has been for a London living wage (2011 rate is £8.30 per hour).
This Council notes that Reading Borough Council has had an anti-low pay policy for Council staff since the late 1980s and the current minimum wage under that policy is £7.64p per hour, which is 44 pence more than the amount suggested as a Living wage outside London. This Council therefore reaffirms this long-standing commitment to paying a living wage to council employees.
This Council resolves:
1. To continue to increment the Living Wage paid to Council staff in line with national pay increases.
2. To review the extent to which the Council’s Living wage policy can be applied to currently contracted-out services or as each contract comes up for renewal.
3. To include a commitment to a Living Wage for new contracts.
4. To call upon other employers in Reading to adopt a similar anti-low pay policy for their staff.
5. To work with advice agencies, trade unions and the Health & Safety Executive to identify and pursue employers that are failing to pay the statutory minimum wage.
6. To review the ratio between the lowest and the higher paid council officers.
7. To ensure that cabinet receives reports on progress towards the above at least annually, but initially by January 2012."