Oxford University signs up to living wage

Thousands of staff benefit – now UNISON urges colleges to follow suit

Almost 2,000 employees at the University of Oxford will get a pay rise as the university becomes the largest employer in the city to sign up to the Oxford Living Wage (OLW).

Staff will see their wages go up to at least £10.21 per hour as they move onto the new minimum hourly rate from 1 August 2020.

UNISON welcomed the move today, while urging the city’s colleges – each an individual employer – to follow suit.

Oxford City Council introduced the OLW in 2009, set at 95% of the Living Wage Foundation‘s London rate, in recognition of the high cost of living in Oxford ­– including property prices, high rents and travel costs.

The university, which employs around 17,000 people in total, said the move to the OLW reflected its commitment “to creating an environment that is supportive of wellbeing, while ensuring Oxford remains an attractive place to work.”

Employees affected by its decision include office/clerical support staff, library assistants, museum staff, security staff and technicians across the the university’s divisions and departments.

Neil Duncan-Jordan, a regional organiser for UNISON South East, said: “We welcome the university’s decision to adopt the Oxford Living Wage and to recognise the additional costs that many of its low-paid workers face, especially when it comes to housing.

“UNISON hopes this positive step will also be adopted by the city’s 39 colleges, which employ some of the lowest-paid workers in Oxford – cleaning the rooms and providing catering to some of the most privileged people in the country.

“This provides us with a terrific opportunity to organise those workers and start raising our profile within the quads and halls.”

Read more: UK living wage 2020