6:01pm Thursday 24th October 2013
MORE than 100 poorly paid public servants employed by Gloucestershire County Council could be in line for a significant pay rise after the authority agreed to consider paying them a Living Wage.
Council officers have been instructed to draw up a report examining the cost to GCC of increasing the basic rate of pay to £7.45 an hour for 119 of its lowest-paid employees.
The move, which was authorised by GCC’s leadership at a meeting on Wednesday (October 23), follows a campaign by the Labour group to get the authority to pay its staff the Living Wage.
Members will scrutinise the officers' report when the council sets its budget in February before deciding whether to vote in favour of the pay increase, which could be worth up to an extra £2,500 a year for some workers.
If the rise is approved by GCC, the authority will be following the lead of Stroud District Council, which introduced the Living Wage for all its staff earlier this month.
At £7.45 an hour, the Living Wage is considerably more than the national minimum wage of £6.31 and is calculated to be the amount an individual needs to cover the basic costs of living.
Labour county councillor Steve Lydon, who represents The Stanleys and has been leading the fight for a Living Wage at GCC, welcomed the decision by the Conservative cabinet to consider its adoption.
“Introducing the Living Wage in Gloucestershire is a Labour Party manifesto commitment that we are determined to achieve. It is vital that people who work can afford to live in dignity,” he said.
“The Living Wage has proven to be good for employers and for business and it helps working people reduce their dependency on benefits.
“When the council comes to agree its budget next year, I hope the Living Wage will receive support from all political parties.”
GCC’s Conservative leader Mark Hawthorne said: “Cabinet has agreed that the proposal should be worked up by officers as part of the budget process.
“All councillors will then decide whether the council adopts this policy during the budget meeting in February.”
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