£1.20 might not sound like much. But for half a million low paid local government workers, every hour it’s the difference between a poverty wage and a living wage.
Local Government Employers are currently consulting councils over the union’s 2014 pay claim, and research out today shows that their tired old line – that they cannot afford to pay low paid workers the living wage – just won’t cut it any more.
The report shows that it’s not just workers that would benefit from being paid a living wage. The rovernment would also enjoy a windfall thanks to increased tax and national insurance contributions, and from spending less money on benefits and tax credits. And local economies will see local money pumped back into local shops.
A living wage is the difference between hard working people having enough money to put food on the table, rather than relying on food banks. It’s the difference between the dignity of earning a decent wage, rather than being forced to rely on in-work benefits.
In simple terms, paying the living wage is a win-win-win for workers, local economies and the Treasury.
Employers can no longer continue to rattle off the same excuse for not paying their hard working people the living wage. When the benefits for both workers and the government are so blatantly clear, their response to our claim for an extra £1.20 an hour can no longer be ”How can we afford to pay it?”
A more responsible reply that’s in touch with the daily struggles of our lowest paid public service workers would be “How can we afford not to pay it?”