UNISON and the Catholic dioceses of Westminster and Southwark have agreed to work together to help nearly 400 Catholic schools across the dioceses implement the living wage.
This follows an agreement between the union and the Catholic Education Service of England and Wales to work together to support and celebrate schools championing the living wage.
As part of this joint work, UNISON has produced a living wage briefing and model implementation plan for Catholic schools.
This sets out the practical steps that Catholic schools will need to take to become fully accredited living wage employers with the Living Wage Foundation.
To gain accreditation schools must both pay the living wage as minimum to their own employees and also have a system in place to ensure all its contractors pay the living wage by an agreed deadline.
The two Catholic dioceses have sent the living wage implementation plan to all their schools this week, recommending that they adopt it.
“UNISON is delighted to be working with Catholic dioceses to support and celebrate Catholic schools implementing the living wage,” says UNISON national secretary for education and children’s services Jon Richards.
“Our work comes at critical time; on-work poverty is a significant problem throughout England and Wales.
“For many families. wages do not go far enough to cover the basic essentials. It is sad that 60% of children in poverty grow up in a working household.
“The introduction of the living wage in Catholic Schools will be a vital lifeline to low-paid school staff, such as cleaners and school meals workers
Greater London regional organiser Shirley Mills added: “It is great news that UNISON and the dioceses of Westminster and Southwark are working together to help Catholic schools become accredited living wage employers.
“This will make a huge difference to the lives of so many dedicated hardworking school support staff.”