Higher wages for low-paid workers at Leicester City Council
More than 1,000 low-paid public workers are to get a wage rise from April.
Leicester City Council has announced it will pay its staff at least £7.45 an hour – the figure known as the Living Wage.
The figure, calculated by academics at Loughborough University, reflects the amount a person needs to cover basics expenses such as food, health and accommodation.
It is £1.26 higher than the £6.19 minimum wage.
SUNDAY OPEN BUFFET EAT AS MUCH AS U CAN £6.99PP & A LA CARTE...View details
Come & Try our Delicious Menu with an Amazing 15% off all Food Bills on a la carte menu only
Terms: Lebanese & Mediterenian Menu With An Amazing 15% Off Your Food Bills on a la carte menu only
Contact: 0116 2169184
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
The city council said the move would increase the pay of 1,140 employees, at a cost of about £875,000 a year.
The measure was announced when the city council's budget was approved this week, which will see spending cuts of around £3 million next year and £6 million the year after.
Labour deputy city mayor Rory Palmer said: "Morally, this is the right thing to do. We have a responsibility to our staff. We are talking about the very lowest paid people.
"Times are tough for everybody particularly some of our staff who have not seen a pay increase in a number of years.
"They are cleaners, kitchen staff and domestic assistants, real people doing real jobs, who like many others in the city are struggling with the increasing cost of living, with food prices going up and fuel costs rising.
"They will feel the impact of Government welfare reforms but we hope this will help them."
Coun Palmer said the money to meet the wage increases would be found from underspends in council departments.
He said: "I hope this will be seen as a positive step and will set an example for other public sector employers and the private sector.
"There is compelling evidence that companies which have adopted the Living Wage have seen increases in staff morale and productivity.
"It also has significant reputation benefits for them."
More than 500 school staff in the city will get pay increases, including 393 cleaners, while 700 other council staff will benefit.
Under law, agency workers who have been on the council's books for more than 12 weeks will get pay rises.
City council Unison representative Gary Garner said: "We're delighted with this. We've been campaigning for it for a very long time."
Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Martin Traynor said: "It is a good thing in principle but companies are struggling."