Council recommends Living Wage for lowest paid workers

The Council looks set to adopt a Living Wage policy. (Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire)
The Council looks set to adopt a Living Wage policy. (Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire)

Derry and Strabane Council officers have recommended that preparations are made to implement a Living Wage of at least £9 an hour for all its employees by 2020.

The move was expected to be adopted at the Council’s monthly Governance and Strategic Planning Committee meeting at the Guildhall on Tuesday afternoon, but the committee agreed to defer a decision on it to allow council officers an opportunity to speak with trade union representatives first.

Delegates pictured outside the UNISON offices, Great James Street before a conference on 'Living Wages Standards' last year.

Delegates pictured outside the UNISON offices, Great James Street before a conference on 'Living Wages Standards' last year.

Prior to 2020, the Council officers, in a report brought before the committee, recommended that those employees and agency staff earning less than the current Living Wage of £7.20 have their wages raised.

There are currently over 50 people- 35 employees and 17 agency staff- at Derry City & Strabane District Council who earn less than £7.20 an hour, and their wage increase looks set to be backdated to April this year.

The Living Wage campaign was launched 14 years ago and a Living Wage Foundation was established in 2011.

The group has campaigned for employers to voluntarily introduce the Living Wage.

The report brought before the committee this week outlined how Derry & Strabane Council agreed in July 2014 “to recognise the basic human rights of every worker to a living wage”.

It was also agreed that proposals would be brought forward on how this would be implemented for the council’s workforce, which is one of the largest in the north west.

It is estimated that introducing the Living Wage for those workers affected and backdating it to April will cost the council £47,000 for the year.

The report recommends that pay bands be adjusted or removed to ensure all staff are on the Living Wage or above in the future.

It also recommends that “a pay strategy” is “developed to ensure we are in a position to implement the £9 per hour with effect from 2020.”

The committee is expected to decide on these recommendations at a future monthly meeting.