Cornwall Council has agreed to pay the living wage to staff, after lengthy negotiations with UNISON.
The minimum amount for workers at Cornwall Council will rise to £7.85 from today, which equates to £15k for a full-time job.
UNISON regional organiser Stuart Roden described it as a “momentous day in Cornwall for thousands of low-paid workers.”
And he told the local newspaper: “This will lift many of our members out of poverty and mean that they no longer have to rely on benefits to make ends meet. Low pay is no joke and many people on minimum wage and zero-hours contracts can only survive from hand to mouth.
Mr Roden added that the council was “leading by example” and the moved should be spread across the whole Cornish workforce.
UNISON is now trying to extend the agreement to schools and workplaces outside of direct local authority control.
Branch secretary Gill Allen noted: “These have been very difficult negotiations at a time of austerity cuts and pay freezes, but it is right that the lowest paid should be taken out of poverty.
“Our members have borne the brunt of the public sector cuts, with many losing their jobs and others suffering reductions in pay.
“For once, this is positive news and many of our members will be going to work this morning with a smile on their face.”