All Sunderland City Council staff to get ‘living wage’

Photo credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Photo credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
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ALL council workers in Sunderland will be paid the so-called living wage from April in a local authority first for the North East.

A motion tabled by Sunderland’s Tory group at the September full council meeting, was after an amendment carried unanimously.

This means that Sunderland City Council has committed to pay all its workers at least £7.65 per hour.

One in six of the local authority’s 1,256 employees can look forward to a boost in their pay packet come the next financial year.

Council leader Paul Watson said: “This council is, in spite of four years of Tory-led government cuts and wage constraints, to become a living wage employer. We’ve made the commitment and are now absolutely committed to bring it in next financial year.”

Tory group leader Lee Martin said: “It was two years ago almost to the day that we all agreed to back a motion committing us to becoming a living wage employer.

“I don’t find it acceptable that I have asked for briefings from senior officers and that’s not forthcoming, that’s not acceptable and that can’t continue, but I couldn’t be happier that we are now going to go ahead and do it and that we are going to be the first North East Council to implement it.

“The living wage issue goes to the very heart of who were are as a council and the type of city we want to be.”

Coun Watson said the delay was due to the restructure of the council and policy changes.

Coun Graeme Miller added: “This Labour group brought a notice of motion on this matter on September 26, 2012.

“Since then, the council has carried out an audit, with the necessary stakeholders, unions and employees. That takes a bit of time, perhaps the thick end of two years.”