The council now joins more than 220 South West based employers officially committed to paying the voluntary rate. The announcement comes at the same time that the Living Wage rate is increased to by 25p to £9 due to rising living costs.
The Living Wage is an independently set hourly rate of pay for everyone over 18, calculated according to the basic costs of living, and is higher than the current minimum wage for those aged over 25 set by the Government. The council has paid its own employees no less than the Foundation Living Wage since 1 October 2014.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “It’s only right and fair that workers earn enough to live on. The fact that the National Minimum Wage hasn’t kept up with the rise in the cost of living means hundreds of thousands of people in the South West region do not earn enough to cover the basics of living.
“I am proud to be championing the real Living Wage across the region and look forward to celebrating Bristol City Council’s accreditation with other businesses later this week. We hope to lead by example in promoting employee economic and social wellbeing for our workers; we hope that other large employers in the region follow suit and do the right thing. A living wage is part of developing an economy based on inclusive economic growth and ensuring everyone shares in Bristol’s success.”
The Living Wage is voluntary and since it started £15,285,423 in extra wages has gone into workers’ pockets in the South West. However, over a fifth of jobs in the region still pay less than the real Living Wage.
Living Wage Foundation Director, Tess Lanning, said: “The Living Wage campaign is about tackling the rising problem of people paid less than they need to live. Responsible businesses know that the government minimum is not enough to live on, and today’s new Living Wage rates will provide a boost for thousands of workers throughout the UK.
“Employers that pay the real Living Wage enable their workers to live a life of dignity, supporting them to pay off debts and meet the pressures of rising bills. We want to see local councils, universities, football clubs, bus companies and the other major public and private sector employers in every city commit to become real Living Wage employers. We are delighted to see Bristol University and Bristol Council do so tda If more of these institutions step up, we can start to build true Living Wage places."
Bristol University has also committed to the new rate. Robert Kerse, Chief Operating Officer at the University of Bristol, said: “We value all staff and recognise that their hard work plays an invaluable role in the life of the University and its contribution to the economy of the city and the region. We’re delighted to receive Living Wage accreditation and offer our lower paid staff more security as the cost of living increases.”
On Thursday the Mayor will also host a celebration of Living Wage, open to those who are already committed to it as well as other businesses looking for find out more.