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Lichfield District Council accused of ignoring calls for introduction of living wage

Lichfield District Council has been accused of ignoring calls to introduce the living wage.

Labour opposition group leader Sue Woodward said a previous pledge to implement the pay standardisation – currently set at £7.85 – had not been acted on.

She claims that in 2013 the Conservative-controlled local authority had agreed to “consult with campaigners, low paid works and trade unions” and “consider” introducing the living wage.

Cllr Sue Woodward

Cllr Sue Woodward

But Cllr Woodward says she is dismayed to learn that the issue has not progressed any further.

“While I welcome the recent announcement to increase the National Minimum Wage to £7.20 an hour by next April as a step in the right direction, this is still nowhere near the nationally-accepted Living Wage level of £7.85,” she said.

“Lichfield District Council should be setting standards and taking a lead as a large local employer, as many other councils are, but it has failed even to do what it agreed two and a half years ago.

“It seems to me that the leadership at Lichfield District Council wanted to kick this issue into the long grass. But, for me, it is also very worrying that a clear resolution of the full council has not been implemented.

“It begs the question of how many more resolutions have not been taken forward and whether the democratic process is being flouted.”

Cllr Mike Wilcox

Cllr Mike Wilcox

But the council’s Conservative leader Mike Wilcox said the number of employees affected and national plans on the horizon meant it made no sense to make the change at this stage.

“The Government are introducing new living wage from next year and there’s only a small amount of people not already above that level who are with us,” he said.

“It is such a small number affected, that before too long I anticipate that everyone will be above that anyway.

“We would be doubling up the work to do it now and then do it again next year.”

But Cllr Woodward has questioned why no such delays were made when councillors’ allowances were increased earlier this year.

Two new Cabinet posts also saw the cost of running the local authority go up.

“On the one hand, an agreed process to increase the wages of our lowest paid employees was ignored but a proposal to significantly increase the costs of members’ allowances by well over £13,000 was agreed on the nod,” said Cllr Woodward.

“It seems like it’s one rule for members but another rule for staff.”

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5 Comments

  1. Paul

    25th August, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    “It is such a small number affected, that before too long I anticipate that everyone will be above that anyway.

    We would be doubling up the work to do it now and then do it again next year.”

    Well that must be reassuring for those under the current threshold.

  2. Rob

    26th August, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    This same labour councillor who only recently called for “less talk” seems to have an awful lot to say.

  3. ErIc.N.Drinkwater

    27th August, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Yes there was hardly a sound about the increase in members allowances but the Leader can find plenty of excuses to delay Minimum Rates for hard Pressed staff.Shameful
    Eric. N.Drinkwater
    Deputy Labour Leader

  4. Sue Woodward

    27th August, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    Not just empty words, Rob, but commitment and actions too. You should attend a Council meeting some time and see for yourself which cllrs work hardest in representing their electors.

  5. Rob

    27th August, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    I thought councillors were supposed to work hard and represent ALL of their constiuents, not just the ones who voted for them?
    Thank you for enlightening us.