Rowntree pledges to pay the living wage
Caring Times, January 2013
Ahead of a week of activity, designed to highlight the benefits of paying a living wage, Julia Unwin CBE, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust (JRHT) announced in November the new Living Wage rate for the UK (outside London).
It is now set at £7.45 per hour – an increase of 25 pence on the previous rate of £7.20 per hour. The Living Wage is the pay needed to provide an adequate standard of living. It compares to the national minimum wage rate of £6.19 an hour.
The news came after a report published in November showed that nearly 5 million workers – one in five – in the UK were paid less than the Living Wage – and that the economic squeeze is hitting these people the hardest. New figures show that the Living Wage campaign, launched by charity Citizens UK in 2001, has lifted 45,000 people out of working poverty and won more than £200m of improved pay for low-income workers.
Making the announcement, at an event in York, Julia Unwin said her organisation would now pay a living wage to staff who are currently on the lowest salary bands. She said: “A living wage is good for business, for the individual and for society. Consequently, it is entirely right that it enjoys cross-party political support as well as support from major employers.
“I am delighted to confirm that, as an employer, from 2013, we will pay a living wage to all of our colleagues, extending it to around 100 of our lowest paid who are carrying out important work as care assistants, cleaners and catering workers. I would urge more employers to make a commitment to paying a living wage.”
Julia Unwin was joined at the event by the Archbishop of York; Dr John Sentamu who is Patron of the York Fairness Commission, an independent advisory body set up by York Council to recommend ways in which the Council can increase fairness and reduce inequality in York. One of its main recommendations was to ‘make York a Living Wage City and inspire Yorkshire to become a Living Wage Region’.