North East Connected

Fairer pay at Newcastle City Council

Hundreds of staff at a North East council are set to benefit from a pay increase thanks to a fair pay commitment.

Since the introduction of the Newcastle Living Wage five years ago, staff on the lowest pay grades at Newcastle City Council have enjoyed a pay increase linked to reviews of the Newcastle Living Wage rate.

The move is part of the council’s commitment to fair pay ensuring that equity and integrity is at the heart of local pay arrangements.

Now the council has decided to increase the Newcastle Living Wage again from £8.25 per hour to £8.45 per hour. It benefits most staff on the three lowest pay grades. The number of staff benefitting goes up from almost 1,000 to 1,150.

Beneficiaries include cleaners, kitchen assistants, assistant gardeners and supervisory assistants in schools.

Staff at Your Homes Newcastle, the Arms Length Management Organisation that manages council homes of behalf of the council, will also benefit from this increase.

Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Nick Forbes, said: “We are totally committed to fair pay. Our lowest paid staff do very demanding jobs and it’s only right they are fairly paid for the work that they do.

“We are not talking about luxuries here but merely enough to give people a decent standard of living. The money they spend is more likely to be spent locally so this pay rise is also good for the local economy.

“We want to set an example to other employers, and see Newcastle become a city with a reputation for fairness.”

Former Chancellor George Osborne announced a Statutory Living Wage of £7.20 per hour for over 25s which took effect on April 1 2016. This increased to £7.50 per hour in April this year. The national minimum wage applies only to over 25s, whereas the Newcastle Living Wage applies to staff irrespective of their age.

While the council welcomed this, it believed that the age differential was divisive and £7.50 per hour is still not enough. It pledged to continue reviewing the Newcastle Living Wage on an annual basis.

The latest increase brings the Newcastle Living Wage into line with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Living Wage and supports the council’s aspirations to be a Foundation Living Wage employer.

The pay increase took effect from October 1 and will be in pay packets at the end of October.

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