Lincoln council in line to give living wage to all employees

The City of Lincoln Council is set to become the first local authority in the city to pay all its staff the living wage.

North Kesteven District Council was the first local authority in Lincolnshire to introduce the living wage for all its employees in June.

Of the Lincolnshire County Council’s 5,000+ employees, around 90 currently earn under the national living wage of £7.45.

Under new proposals, City of Lincoln Council staff earning the lowest wage brackets will see a raise of over £1 per hour thanks to the living wage.

Councillors at the Full Council meeting on August 6 will vote on proposals to raise the wage of 39 employees at the local authority.

The living wage, separate from National Minimum Wage, is defined as the minimum income required to meet basic needs.

In all areas of the country except London, the living wage is defined as £7.45 an hour.

The minimum wage an employer can pay in the UK is £6.19 per hour (aged over 21); the council’s paid workers earn £6.35 an hour.

The 39 workers in the City Council are mainly cleaners, toilet attendants and clerical workers, with 26 of them female.

The living Wage will cost the council around £31,000 to implement, but will make the workers on average £41 better off per week.

According to the council, the reason that women take the brunt of low pay is due to more often being in part-time work in jobs that attract lower incomes, such as catering, cleaning and caring.

Leader of the City of Lincoln Council, Ric Metcalfe, said: “Low income is a serious problem in this city.

“There is anecdotal evidence of even the National Minimum Wage not being paid, of large numbers of people on part-time hours, many in temporary insecure employment, and many people who are underemployed and desperately searching for work.

“At the heart of the council’s longer term response to the current economic problems, we intend to work with other partners to try to get growth going again in the city, and to provide well paid employment which for many people will be the sure way out of poverty,” he added.

If approved, the living wage for Lincoln council workers would go into effect in September, but will be backdated from April 1, 2013.

— Also read Ric Metcalfe’s column from June — Tackling poverty: Low pay is a serious problem in Lincoln