Living Wage not being paid by ABC Council

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Armagh City, Banbridge and Criagavon Borough Council is not listed among local authorities currently paying the Voluntary Living Wage.

A list issued by trade union GMB features only two councils in Northern Ireland - Belfast and Mid-Ulster, who pay the sum, while in all 175 councils across the UK are already paying the living wage.

The Voluntary Living Wage, currently £8.25 an hour, was set up by the Living Wage Foundation, calculated according to the cost of living in the UK and updated annually.

It is not compulsory for employers, and should not be confused with the National Living Wage, which the government is to introduce early next year to effectively replace the current Minimum Wage.

The council said: “Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council have not yet considered the Voluntary Living Wage; however the Council will consider this in the context of the economic environment, budget cuts and the affordability of any changes.

“The council is already discussing the implications of implementing the National Living Wage, the effect of which will present challenges in respect of severe pay erosion and the need to consider a renegotiation of the entire pay structure.

“It should be recognised that pay is only one aspect of the employee reward package and it is worth mentioning that employee benefits and terms and conditions of employment in local authorities are extremely favourable.

“For example local authority employers make significant contributions towards employees’ pensions.”

GMB’s National Officer for local authority workers, Justin Bowden, said: “GMB supports the work of Living Wage Foundation to raise wages. We will continue to make strong representation to all councils across the UK to make work pay.”