David Miliband and UNISON chief demand a living wage
"Staff working as nursery nurses, cleaners and kitchen assistants in Further
Education need a living wage*" - this is the clear message coming from
Labour MP David Miliband and UNISON chief, Dave Prentis. The call comes in
the wake of a UNISON survey showing that 55% of colleges in England are
not paying the Living Wage to many of their in-house staff**.
Dave Prentis and David Miliband have sent out a joint letter to those colleges not paying the living wage, calling on them to commit to relieving the financial hardship of staff, urging them to negotiate a living wage for low paid staff. As part of the national pay deal for 2011/12, the Association of Colleges recommended that all colleges in England increase their minimum hourly rate of pay to at least £7.20 an hour.
UNISON will award a 'kite mark' to those colleges and universities that do the right thing and agree to pay the Living Wage.
As part of his tour of UK universities, David Miliband has arranged for community organisers at Movement for Change to work with Labour Students on campuses across the UK campaigning for a Living Wage. David Miliband said:
"Pay inequality is an issue in the public sector as well as the private sector. Everyone knows that universities and colleges are under financial pressure, but the evidence is that the introduction of the Living Wage cuts absenteeism and labour turnover and raises productivity. Labour Students have made the Living Wage their number 1 campaign this year, and Movement for Change have worked closely with them, and with universities around the country. I am delighted that UNISON are campaigning on this issue together with us in such a positive way. Today's letter is designed to take forward a serious dialogue about one of the pressing issues facing Britain." Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, said:
"It is time that FE colleges recognised the real financial hardship that many of their staff and families face year after year. The cost of everyday essentials such as food and fuel just keeps going up and workers are really struggling.
"A Living Wage for all staff was agreed with the Association of Colleges and all colleges must now honour the deal. This is not too much to ask - it is simply giving staff enough to provide their families with the basic essentials to survive.
Over the coming months we will be working closely with our friends in the Labour party and the National Union of Students to ensure every college becomes a Living Wage employer”.
*The recognised Living Wage figure for outside London is currently £7.20 per hour. The London Living Wage (LLW) figure, set by the Greater London Authority (GLA,) is currently £8.30 an hour.
**UNISON freedom of Information survey to which 68% of colleges in England responded