Image: Tony Hisgett (CC BY SA 2.0)
The Oxford City Council has announced that a new Oxford Living Wage will be set at £10.02 an hour, and will come into force from April 2019 onwards. To mark this announcement, the Oxford City Living Wage Campaign held an ‘Oxford Living Wage Rally’ on 5th November, which hosted a range of speakers and workshop on how Oxford can be made into a Living Wage City.
This living wage is the minimum wage that the council pays anyone who works for it, including agency workers. Any contractors, who have contracts over £100,000, are also expected to pay their staff and subcontractors the Oxford Living Wage too.
The Living Wage, is calculated for the Living Wage Foundation (LWF) and updated yearly in October. It sets a London rate and a national one for the rest of the country.
Living Wage employers, to be accredited, must pay all regular employees over the age of 18 the wage, and this includes anyone in the employ of the company, be they contractors, or even sub-contractors.
The calculation of the independent Living Wage uses evidence on living standards in London and the UK. Factors representing the cost of living standards include a standard shopping basket price, council tax, commuting costs and childcare. The members of the commission which calculate it include trade union officials, economic experts and employers who already pay a living wage.
As opposed to other places in the country, Oxford is a relatively expensive place to live, and so its Living Wage will be set at 95% of that of London.
As of yesterday, Thursday 8th November, Oxford City Council and LWF held a joint event at the Saïd Business School to promote the new Oxford Living Wage, and what it means for employers, employees and the city as a whole.
The council’s announcement comes at the start of Living Wage Week, when the LWF sets its new rates nationwide. The week is celebrated across the UK, bringing people together to campaign for a real Living Wage that supports those who need it.
Councillor Martyn Rush, Living Wage Champion for Oxford City Council, said: “Oxford needs a pay rise, and we are proud to announce the new Oxford Living Wage of £10.02 an hour. Oxford City Council commits to continuing to pay this as a minimum wage to all our staff and agency workers.
“The Oxford Living Wage helps our employees afford to live with dignity. It also helps the council by improving staff motivation and retention, enabling us to provide better customer service.
“A number of other local employers already pay the Oxford Living Wage, including Oxford Bus Company, Campion Hall, Blackfriars College and My Life My Choice. Oxford City Council encourages other employers in Oxford to follow their lead and adopt the Oxford Living Wage.”
Craig Simmons, Councillor for St Mary’s and Leader of the Green Party on the Council, struck a more hesitant tone. While welcoming higher wages, he said that “Oxford is the least affordable City to live in the UK. And there is not the choice of accommodation that you can get in London. Commuting costs are also greater. Homeless is also higher proportionally than in London. If anything, we need a higher living wage than London not one which is lower.”
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