Living Wage Foundation raises baseline threshold for pay decency outside London to £8.75 an hour
Northern Ireland employers lag behind rest of UK in numbers paying a Living Wage
Unite’s Regional Equality officer, Taryn Trainor, welcomed the Living Wage Foundation raising the Living Wage for workers outside London to £8.75 an hour in 2018, an increase on the rate for the current year of £8.45, and issued a challenge to poverty pay employers in Northern Ireland:
“Today’s announcement by the Living Wage Foundation confirms that with the sharp rise in inflation, workers now need more to sustain even the most basic standard of living. The Living Wage Foundation figure represents the bare necessity to avoid material deprivation – it represents an absolute floor for pay decency.
“Poverty pay is the biggest problem faced by our society. Workers are living through the longest stagnation in their pay since Napoleonic times as the failure of pay rates to keep pace with inflation. This means falling standards of living for working people, women in particular; depressed demand and growth, as well as decreased investment for productivity gains.
“There is now an onus on employers to end the scourge of poverty pay. They must ensure that no worker receives a wage falling below the Living Wage Foundation threshold.
“In the past years Unite has spearheaded efforts to compel bosses to meet basic pay decency and our efforts secured successes for workers in Lidl and a number of local authorities in Northern Ireland but despite these successes Northern Ireland still has fewer Living Wage accredited employers than in any other part of the UK.
“In conjunction with the other affiliates to the NI Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Unite will be redoubling our efforts to end poverty pay in the public sector, building on our successes in ensuring some local authorities pay the living wage. These efforts will be extended across the private sector as we seek to ensure all future pay deals include a commitment to becoming a Living Wage employer.
“Unite is putting poverty pay employers on warning: end this scourge or face industrial action as workers seek a genuine living wage.
“To deliver such a sea-change on pay we are calling on workers to join Unite, a fighting union dedicated to raising the living conditions of the working-class. Our collective strength as the largest public and private trade union in Britain and Ireland can compel Northern Ireland bosses to become Living Wage employers. United we bargain, divided we beg”, Ms Trainor concluded.