UNISON campaign sees critical mass of schools commit to the Living Wage

Staff in more than 12,000 schools are set to be paid the Living Wage as a result of landmark agreements secured by UNISON in the run up to Living Wage Week. This accounts for approaching 50% of schools across the UK and is the latest success in the union’s long-running campaign. 
School support staff such as cleaners, administration staff, some teaching assistants and catering staff are just some of the employees who will be paid the Living Wage as a result of the union’s campaign. 
UNISON, the largest education union in the country, has negotiated Living Wage arrangements with councils, the Catholic Church, the Church of England, the Schools Cooperative Society and Multi Academy Trusts including Oasis Community Learning, Reach 2 Academy Trust and The Elliot Foundation.
UNISON Head of Education Jon Richards said:
“We are fast approaching a critical mass of schools committed to paying the Living Wage which is a significant step. We are now working with the Living Wage Foundation to encourage as many schools as possible to win formal Living Wage accreditation.
“As well as lifting families out of poverty, paying the Living Wage is proven to boost productivity and reduce staff turnover, leading to financial savings for employers.
“As a result of our agreements the Living Wage is fast becoming the benchmark for the minimum rate of pay in schools for both directly employed and contract staff.”
The union has also produced a step by step guide to implementing the Living Wage for schools. 

Scott Hilton is a 41-year-old cleaner at Oasis Academy School in Oldham, who agreed to be a Living Wage employer in September this year. This has resulted in increasing the minimum rate of pay of both its directly employed and contract staff. For Scott, this means a pay increase of almost £1 an hour.

Scott said: 

“The Living Wage pay increase makes an enormous difference. It means I can worry a little less about bills.  I’ve also been able to start thinking about my Christmas shopping. I’m happy in my work and pleased that Oasis value us in this way.”

Paul Barber, Director of the Catholic Education Service said:

“A Living Wage is essential in the promotion of family life in our society and can be found in Catholic Social Teaching, spanning over 100 years. Catholic organisations have the responsibility to promote human flourishing through the dignity of work and the Living Wage plays an important part in this. I congratulate those Catholic schools, colleges and universities who are already Living Wage employers and thank them for the great example they set us in their work for the Common Good.”

Steve Chalke MBE, Global Founder of Oasis and Oasis Community Learning, said:

“Oasis is built on the foundations of justice, inclusion, equality and hope.  All our work is underpinned by a belief in the intrinsic worth of every human being.  We are constantly striving to ensure that every one of our practices and processes tangibly reflect our ethos; by becoming a Living Wage Employer we have taken a huge leap in fulfilling our aspiration.”

Bob Anderson, Director of HR at The Elliot Foundation, said:

“The Elliot Foundation is very pleased to be a part of the Living Wage community. We value all our staff and this has been a real opportunity to recognise this.”

Dr. Becky McKenzie-Young, Head of HR and Governance for REAch2 Academy Trust said:

“REAch2 Academy Trust has implemented the ‘living wage’ as the benchmark for our minimum rate of pay.  This is an important statement about the value that we put on all of our employees’ dignity and their right to keep their own families out of poverty.  We entrust all of our staff with our countries most important investment, its children.  A living wage benchmark recognises that fact.”