Posted: Sun 29th Jan 2017

Living Wage Commitment For Torfaen /
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Jan 29th, 2017

Nearly 900 employees in Torfaen Council are set to receive a pay increase after the authority agreed to become an accredited Living Wage employer. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The decision means no council employee will be paid less than the minimum living wage – an hourly rate of £8.25 for 2015/16 that is calculated annually by the Living Wage Foundation. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The move means that 574 people who are the lowest paid staff in the organisation will be receiving a pay rise at the Living Wage rate, while a further 313 will receive additional pay or extensions to their pay grades. The pay will be backdated to July 2016. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Torfaen has also become the first authority in Wales to embed the Living Wage into its official pay structures, ensuring that pay rates reflect the employee’s duties and responsibilities. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Councillor Anthony Hunt, leader of Torfaen Council, said: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“By introducing the Living Wage for our lowest paid employees, we are not only ensuring their pay meets their cost of living, but recognising that valuing our employees is the best way to improve local services. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“These council staff are earning modest wages, but undertake important front line roles. They ensure our children have a safe and positive school environment. They support our most vulnerable people. They help keep our streets clean and run other vital local services. With so many of our staff living in the borough, they are likely to spend locally too, so this is also good news for the local economy. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“In these austere times, I’m also pleased that the cost has been met from an ongoing reduction in the cost of senior management. They gap between our highest and lowest salaries has been narrowed once again. Most councillors, including myself as leader, have also refused pay rises in the past five years.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cheryl Morgan, secretary of the Torfaen branch of Unison, said: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Working together over an extended period, Torfaen Council and Torfaen Unison are pleased to announce that the Living Wage will be applied in January 2017, and the pay increase being backdated to July 2016. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Torfaen is now the only local authority in Wales that has made a long term commitment to the Living Wage, and which has ensured that this is basic pay and not just an ‘add on’ allowance. UNISON is delighted that this is sets an example that others should aspire to. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Ensuring that workers get a fair wage for a fair days work has always been at the heart of what trade unions are all about and the core of negotiations with employers. It has been a long standing objective of Torfaen Unison to work with Torfaen Council to push for the Living Wage to be applied for the lowest paid in the council workforce.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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