Oxford policymakers say yes to Living Wage

A University policymaking board has ruled in favour of supporting the Living Wage campaign.

The University’s Personnel Committee, which is responsible for policymaking on the employment of all University staff, made the decision after a meeting last term.  Members of the board will now draft a paper to the University Planning and Resource Committee expressing their support for the campaign.

The announcement comes after a student demonstration last term in favour of the campaign outside University offices while the Personnel Committee met to discuss the living wage.

Dr Stephen Goss, Pro V-C for Personnel and Equality, commented: “A number of views were expressed [at the meeting], ranging from support for accreditation on ethical, reputational and practical grounds, to concerns about loss of control over the University’s costs and the uncertain, long-term, financial implications of accreditation.” He added: “The Committee has asked that the affordability of the Living Wage be further explored”.  

Andrew Grey, the organiser of the Oxford Living Wage Campaign, told The Oxford Student that: “The motion doesn’t relate to colleges, but to the University as a whole (i.e. central buildings and departments). The VC isn’t specifically pledging anything, but the committee are expressly stating their support for the Living Wage and are asking for calculations to be made by other committees.”

“This means that the Committee want the University to make a commitment, but the final decision does not rest with them. However, a final decision would not even be possible without their support and recommendation – so for the first time ever there is a possibility of the University becoming an accredited Living Wage employer.”

The campaign to achieve a living wage for Oxford University staff was founded in 2006 by a group of students at Balliol College.