Unite asks Belfast city councillors to support Living Wage motion

Jimmy Kelly 1 copyNorthern Ireland needs a pay rise says union leader

January 30th: Trade union Unite has written to all Belfast City Councillors urging them to support a motion being tabled on Monday  (3 February) calling for Belfast City Council to become a Living Wage employer and to include the Living Wage in all new employment contracts.  The motion also calls on the Council to examine how the Living Wage policy may be applied to current contracts as they come up for renewal, and to encourage other Belfast employers to adopt a similar anti-low-pay policy.

Commenting, Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said:

“Northern Ireland needs a pay rise.  Whether in Belfast or in Ballymena, workers are in the midst of a low pay crisis – and the economy is paying the price.

“Every extra pound in the pay packet of a low-paid worker means extra revenue for local businesses.

“Next Monday, Belfast City Councillors have the opportunity to send a clear signal: we are no longer prepared to tolerate a low pay culture.

“Unite is calling on all Belfast city councillors to support this motion on Monday, and we will be lobbying other local elected representatives throughout Northern Ireland to table and support similar motions”, Mr Kelly concluded.


  • The Living Wage motion was tabled by Councillor Claire Hanna and is due to be taken at the meeting of Belfast City Council on Monday 3 February.
  • The Living Wage is currently calculated as £7.65 per hour.  This figure is calculated annually by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University as the level above which a person can live adequately and with dignity in today’s society.
  • More than one in four workers in Northern Ireland earn less than the Living Wage.   Northern Ireland has a higher proportion of workers earning less than the Living Wage (26 per cent) than England, Scotland and Wales (21 per cent).
  • Unite’s recent Working Paper, Growing the Economy and Living Standards, is available for download here.
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