Moves afoot to give council staff a ‘living wage’

HUNDREDS of council workers in Northumberland could be in line for a pay rise.

Northumberland County Council’s Labour administration is considering the introduction of a ‘living wage’ for the authority’s lowest paid staff.

Negotiations have started with trades unions and the Northern TUC about the plans and a working group has been formed to investigate how the proposal could be implemented.

Terms of reference have been circulated to the unions and an academic report has been commissioned.

The administration is also keen to develop an equality impact assessment and has approached a third party to evaluate the potential effect of a ‘living wage’ policy.

A full report is due to be presented to the council’s Executive within three months.

Council Leader Grant Davey said: “There are already 51 councils across the country that have signed up to a ‘living wage’ for the lowest paid employees and we’re keen to get on and deliver our promise to make Northumberland County Council a ‘living wage’ employer.

“As communities and families face an ever-increasing struggle to make ends meet as coalition tax increases such as the VAT hike continue to eat into household incomes, we’re clear that we think a ‘living wage’ will boost households and businesses alike.”

The group estimates that a pay rise to more than £7.20 an hour could see an extra £10million pumped into the local economy as most council workers shop and use services in the area.

It is hoping for cross-party support, despite the authority having to make almost £70million of savings in the next two years.