Durham council to consider paying living wage

THOUSANDS of lowly paid local Government workers could be in for a pay rise, after the North-East’s biggest council agreed to look into introducing a "living wage".

A full meeting of Labour-led Durham County Council today (December 5) voted overwhelmingly to investigate paying its 10,000 staff at least £7.45 an hour.

Later, a council spokeswoman said it was too early to say how many staff could benefit or how much the policy might cost.

However, Councillor Mike Dixon, who proposed the change, said the authority had a desire for fairness, despite what he called the unfair pressure of unprecedented cuts and the failed economic model of austerity being pushed by the Government.

“Poverty is being inflicted by the rich on those least able to bear it. We are determined to alleviate the struggle of the lowest paid,” he told the meeting at Durham’s County Hall.

Coun Dixon’s motion, that the council set up a working group to explore the affordability of introducing a living wage of £7.45 an hour for its lowest paid employees, was supported by Liberal Democrat councillors and passed by 68 votes to zero. Four Tories abstained.

The living wage is higher than the legal minimum wage, which is currently £6.19 an hour for over 20s.

About 20 councils have adopted it. In September, Newcastle became the first to do so in the North-East.

Meanwhile, Lib Dem councillor Mark Wilkes claimed the council was being held to ransom by trade union Unite in a long-running pay dispute.

While the GMB and Unison have backed a new pay and grading structure affecting about 8,900 workers, Unite, the smallest of the three branches with around 150 members, has voted against.

Lib Dem group leader Nigel Martin urged the authority to consider de-recognising the union.

However, Alan Napier, the council’s Labour deputy leader, said while he was as disappointed as anybody at Unite’s decision, the authority needed to continue working with trade unions.

He said he hoped Unite would re-ballot its members tomorrow, with a result announced next week.

If no deal is reached by December 31, there could be months of further delays.

Comments (19)

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5:28pm Wed 5 Dec 12

stevegg says...

Are the council for real at a time when they are making £100 million of cuts? If these were the boom years I could understand it. At this time they should be concentrating on safeguarding jobs and spending what money they have wisely. Now is not the time to propose such extravagence.
Are the council for real at a time when they are making £100 million of cuts? If these were the boom years I could understand it. At this time they should be concentrating on safeguarding jobs and spending what money they have wisely. Now is not the time to propose such extravagence. stevegg
  • Score: 0

6:04pm Wed 5 Dec 12

David Lacey says...

Well said.
Well said. David Lacey
  • Score: 0

6:12pm Wed 5 Dec 12

Mod says...

Do the council taxpayers on minimum wage have any say in this?
Do the council taxpayers on minimum wage have any say in this? Mod
  • Score: 0

6:32pm Wed 5 Dec 12

ajtib3 says...

The whole amount could probably be paid for by foregoing the CEO's last or next pay increase and have the added benefit of taking more of those employees out of the need for benefits.

Surely the right and fair thing to do.
The whole amount could probably be paid for by foregoing the CEO's last or next pay increase and have the added benefit of taking more of those employees out of the need for benefits. Surely the right and fair thing to do. ajtib3
  • Score: 0

7:34pm Wed 5 Dec 12

Mod says...

Generosity knows no bounds when you're spending other people's money.
Generosity knows no bounds when you're spending other people's money. Mod
  • Score: 0

8:08pm Wed 5 Dec 12

spragger says...

Some taxpayer should take them on ..
If they have taxpayers money to do this they should return it to the hard pressed who provided it. .

Why are Labour politicians always keen to throw away other peoples money?
Some taxpayer should take them on .. If they have taxpayers money to do this they should return it to the hard pressed who provided it. . Why are Labour politicians always keen to throw away other peoples money? spragger
  • Score: 0

8:11pm Wed 5 Dec 12

stevegg says...

Mod wrote:
Generosity knows no bounds when you're spending other people's money.
Thats the problem all over, its public money and these idiots are blazee with it as they always have been. What about all the libraries and day care centres they are closing???
[quote][p][bold]Mod[/bold] wrote: Generosity knows no bounds when you're spending other people's money.[/p][/quote]Thats the problem all over, its public money and these idiots are blazee with it as they always have been. What about all the libraries and day care centres they are closing??? stevegg
  • Score: 0

8:24pm Wed 5 Dec 12

loonyleft says...

what pay the serfs a decnt wage,the b****rs will be wanting holidays next!!!
what pay the serfs a decnt wage,the b****rs will be wanting holidays next!!! loonyleft
  • Score: 0

8:42pm Wed 5 Dec 12

George BA says...

Anyone working for the County on their payscales will be getting a living wage.

Maybe they should insist that contractors and sub contractors are doing the same.

Perhaps they should sell some of their empty buildings, worth millions, to cut the deficit.

Coming soon, expense increases for Councillors, just a thought?
Anyone working for the County on their payscales will be getting a living wage. Maybe they should insist that contractors and sub contractors are doing the same. Perhaps they should sell some of their empty buildings, worth millions, to cut the deficit. Coming soon, expense increases for Councillors, just a thought? George BA
  • Score: 0

9:31pm Wed 5 Dec 12

ajtib3 says...

George BA wrote:
Anyone working for the County on their payscales will be getting a living wage.

Maybe they should insist that contractors and sub contractors are doing the same.

Perhaps they should sell some of their empty buildings, worth millions, to cut the deficit.

Coming soon, expense increases for Councillors, just a thought?
If that is the case then what's the problem - no extra payments will need to be made.

But its very telling that the majority of the comments above don't want the very low paid to earn a living wage and get off benefits yet are the usual suspects when it comes to criticising those who claim benefit.

And no-one seems to be complaining about the multi-million pound salaries and bonuses of those at the top of many businesses which are paid, often for total failure.

And if many of those businesses were a bit more honest with their tax payments the £22 billion extra gained would mean that many low paid in all sectors of the economy could earn a living wage.

I suggest some of you re-assess your priorities because they are badly misguided. How those greedy directors must laugh at the fact that people can be so easily conned they'd rather make the working poor suffer instead.
[quote][p][bold]George BA[/bold] wrote: Anyone working for the County on their payscales will be getting a living wage. Maybe they should insist that contractors and sub contractors are doing the same. Perhaps they should sell some of their empty buildings, worth millions, to cut the deficit. Coming soon, expense increases for Councillors, just a thought?[/p][/quote]If that is the case then what's the problem - no extra payments will need to be made. But its very telling that the majority of the comments above don't want the very low paid to earn a living wage and get off benefits yet are the usual suspects when it comes to criticising those who claim benefit. And no-one seems to be complaining about the multi-million pound salaries and bonuses of those at the top of many businesses which are paid, often for total failure. And if many of those businesses were a bit more honest with their tax payments the £22 billion extra gained would mean that many low paid in all sectors of the economy could earn a living wage. I suggest some of you re-assess your priorities because they are badly misguided. How those greedy directors must laugh at the fact that people can be so easily conned they'd rather make the working poor suffer instead. ajtib3
  • Score: 0

10:37pm Wed 5 Dec 12

Jolly Roger says...

So us pensioners who are not on a living wage and expect by this announcement be asked to fund it.

Can we say to you councillors we want our council tax cut one pound for every £ we are short of the living wage.
So us pensioners who are not on a living wage and expect by this announcement be asked to fund it. Can we say to you councillors we want our council tax cut one pound for every £ we are short of the living wage. Jolly Roger
  • Score: 0

11:17pm Wed 5 Dec 12

ajtib3 says...

Jolly Roger wrote:
So us pensioners who are not on a living wage and expect by this announcement be asked to fund it.

Can we say to you councillors we want our council tax cut one pound for every £ we are short of the living wage.
Well you wouldn't be funding it even if it needed funding then.

As Newcastle said, when they introduced it, it can be self-funded by redistribution if done right.

A living wage should be the right of every full-time worker in every industry - public and private - and could easily be if the people at the top weren't so self-servingly greedy.
[quote][p][bold]Jolly Roger[/bold] wrote: So us pensioners who are not on a living wage and expect by this announcement be asked to fund it. Can we say to you councillors we want our council tax cut one pound for every £ we are short of the living wage.[/p][/quote]Well you wouldn't be funding it even if it needed funding then. As Newcastle said, when they introduced it, it can be self-funded by redistribution if done right. A living wage should be the right of every full-time worker in every industry - public and private - and could easily be if the people at the top weren't so self-servingly greedy. ajtib3
  • Score: 0

6:39am Thu 6 Dec 12

BMD says...

The five council workers changing one light bulb will be getting a pay rise from the Labour controlled Council!

Socialism only lasts as long as the other persons money!
The five council workers changing one light bulb will be getting a pay rise from the Labour controlled Council! Socialism only lasts as long as the other persons money! BMD
  • Score: 0

9:03am Thu 6 Dec 12

loonyleft says...

bmd,That's right belittle honest workers.
bmd,That's right belittle honest workers. loonyleft
  • Score: 0

10:07am Thu 6 Dec 12

IanfromCrook says...

I do sometimes think that the council's financial planning dept consists of two big wheels of fortune one of wants one of cuts.every now and again they give them a spin. Cuts to leisure and libraries have been on the cutting wheel recently. Digging up Bishop Auckland town centre appears to have a little blue tack behind it. All this while dragging their heels when some good private money ideas eg. Jomast and Crook supermarket.
Mad Mad Mad. I would like people to have a living wage but I would like it more for the council to all go on an accounting course it may be the most prudent exercise possible.
I do sometimes think that the council's financial planning dept consists of two big wheels of fortune one of wants one of cuts.every now and again they give them a spin. Cuts to leisure and libraries have been on the cutting wheel recently. Digging up Bishop Auckland town centre appears to have a little blue tack behind it. All this while dragging their heels when some good private money ideas eg. Jomast and Crook supermarket. Mad Mad Mad. I would like people to have a living wage but I would like it more for the council to all go on an accounting course it may be the most prudent exercise possible. IanfromCrook
  • Score: 0

1:55pm Fri 7 Dec 12

the-big-yin says...

stevegg wrote:
Are the council for real at a time when they are making £100 million of cuts? If these were the boom years I could understand it. At this time they should be concentrating on safeguarding jobs and spending what money they have wisely. Now is not the time to propose such extravagence.
A simple solution...pay the living wage to all staff....cut those on pay that is far too high a wage for the work they do....cut all overtime that is not essential...and stop the waste of money on taxis, free food, chauffeur driven cars, buildings with electricity being used in empty rooms, etc etc etc.....also allowing council workers to take council vehicles home...yes thats us paying for them to have free fuel used on getting to and from work....millions a year on this alone...
[quote][p][bold]stevegg[/bold] wrote: Are the council for real at a time when they are making £100 million of cuts? If these were the boom years I could understand it. At this time they should be concentrating on safeguarding jobs and spending what money they have wisely. Now is not the time to propose such extravagence.[/p][/quote]A simple solution...pay the living wage to all staff....cut those on pay that is far too high a wage for the work they do....cut all overtime that is not essential...and stop the waste of money on taxis, free food, chauffeur driven cars, buildings with electricity being used in empty rooms, etc etc etc.....also allowing council workers to take council vehicles home...yes thats us paying for them to have free fuel used on getting to and from work....millions a year on this alone... the-big-yin
  • Score: 0

7:15pm Fri 7 Dec 12

gettuit62 says...

Absolutely true, Big-yin.
Absolutely true, Big-yin. gettuit62
  • Score: 0

8:43am Sat 8 Dec 12

mark.wilkinson says...

How nice. Well it is Xmas after all.

I guess you and I will just have to suck it up and pay the additional costs....as per usual!
How nice. Well it is Xmas after all. I guess you and I will just have to suck it up and pay the additional costs....as per usual! mark.wilkinson
  • Score: 0

6:09pm Sat 8 Dec 12

kirblebarblebumblebee says...

I am fed up of hearing how Councils waste the hard earned money some of us are forced to hand over. I have no problem paying my contribution but those people running the County spending are idiots. It doesnt matter which political party are voted, they are all the same. Why can't the people who contribute have a say?
I am fed up of hearing how Councils waste the hard earned money some of us are forced to hand over. I have no problem paying my contribution but those people running the County spending are idiots. It doesnt matter which political party are voted, they are all the same. Why can't the people who contribute have a say? kirblebarblebumblebee
  • Score: 0

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