HISTORY will be made next week when the process begins to give 1,000 of South Tyneside Council’s lowest-paid workers the national living wage.
Changes to the national Government’s pay scale will be made on Wednesday, meaning no employee will be paid less than £7.29 per hour.
This is not about giving staff a pay supplement which could be taken away at any point, this is about making significant, lasting changes to our salary structure.Coun Ed Malcolm
The council will then look towards the implementation of the full national living wage rate – outside of London – of £7.85 per hour from April 2016.
The move fulfils a commitment the Labour-led local authority made last year to pay enough for families to enjoy “an acceptable standard of living”.
Coun Ed Malcolm, the council’s lead member for resources and innovation, has been one of the driving forces behind the change.
He said: “There is a compelling case to introduce a living wage because it brings dignity and pays families enough to enjoy an acceptable standard of living.
“This is not about giving staff a pay supplement which could be taken away at any point, this is about making significant, lasting changes to our salary structure.
“Staff affected will not only benefit from the extra money in their wages but also from additional benefits like increased pension provision.”
The council established an Independent Wage Commission in June, last year, to examine the benefits and challenges of adopting a living wage in South Tyneside.
The commission found that a living wage would make a positive contribution to reducing poverty and promoting well-being among low paid workers.