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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Carlisle council agrees to pay workers living wage

A move to pay contracted council workers the living wage has been approved.

Colin Glover photo
Colin Glover

The decision was taken by Carlisle City Council’s employment panel.

Under the proposals, contracted staff on the lowest pay grade would be guaranteed a minimum yearly salary of £14,374 – with the hourly rate set at £7.45 per hour.

The move excludes apprentices and casual staff with their current pay arrangements continuing as they are now.

Jean Cross, the council officer who looked into the issue for the panel, reminded members that the decision to consult on the move was taken at last month’s meeting.

She said that there had been nothing negative in the feedback and added: “People earning a bit more than the living wage said ‘yes and about time too’. They should be aware that they need to declare the increase if they are on benefits.”

According to her report it would cost £28,225, to implement the initiative for all contracted council staff from April 1.

Currently apprentices are paid in line with the Apprenticeship Framework Agreement – £110 per week or £2.97 per hour – for the first year until they are qualified, when they go onto the minimum wage for the rest of their two-year contract.

Ms Cross told members: “We are in line with other schemes and we do invest a lot in their training.”

The council has three apprentices, two of them in their second year of training.

By law casual staff are paid the minimum wage plus an additional 10.73 per cent as an equivalent of paid holidays.

The council has 55 casual workers who are paid below the rate of the living wage and nine of those are under 18 years old.

It would cost £22,656 to pay all the casuals the living wage if levels of casual employment stayed the same.

Ms Cross said: “The recommendation for casuals is that we leave things as they are now.”

Colin Glover, the panel chairman, said: “This is a sound and welcome policy change and I am delighted to take this forward.”

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