Sunderland University Union backs living wage

Carl Taylor
Carl Taylor
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A WEARSIDE union is backing the Living Wage campaign at a cost of almost £10,000.

After months of planning, The University of Sunderland Students’ Union, which employs 40 people, has adopted the Living Wage.

The move will see the staff paid £7.45 an hour compared to the legal National Minimum Wage of £6.31 an hour.

This will affect cleaners and bar, cafe, and shop staff, the majority of whom are students and work part time.

The Living Wage is a voluntary scheme for employers to pay a rate based on the basic cost of living in the UK, it is calculated independently and will see the Wearside union’s staff earning an extra £1.14 per hour.

Students at the Union Council passed the move on Monday and it was agreed by the Union Board Of Trustees at a meeting on Wednesday.

New pay rates will come into force during the first week of November, which, coincidentally, is Living Wage Week.

Students’ Union President Carl Taylor, said: “We are very proud to have achieved this and hope it will lead to other employers doing so locally and nationally.

“It has taken nine months in the planning to make sure we could achieve it, so it is really good to see it being put in place.

“There had to be a lot of work put into it, it is by no means a quick and easy process, but I think planning is the key to success.”

Carl said at the meeting of the Union Council with 22 members, only one person voted against the move, which shows the strength of feeling about the issue.

“For the people working here, this will mean a big difference.

“It is going to be a substantial cost to our union, almost £10,000-a-year, but, we are committed to promoting fair employment practices and promoting ourselves has having high moral standards.”

Carl said the move also shows the union’s investment in its staff, they want employees who are motivated and committed to working for the organisation.

The Sunderland Student Union president said the issue is being debated nationally across universities and that earlier this year Newcastle University Students’ Union rejected the move, but Northumbria University’s agreed it.