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Manchester marks Living Wage Week

17 Nov 2021

The leader elect of the Council has stated Manchester’s determination to become an accredited Living Wage City next year

Cllr Bev Craig, who is currently Deputy Leader but takes over as Leader from Wednesday 1 December, was speaking as National Living Wage Week – the annual recognition of the movement demanding a fair day’s pay – began. It runs from Monday, 15 November to Sunday, 21 November inclusive and this year marks the 20th anniversary of the campaign.  

The real Living Wage is an independently-calculated rate based on what employees and their families need to live rather than the Government’s minimum wage, which has been rebranded the National Living Wage. 

Employers who sign up to the Living Wage voluntarily pay this benchmark, the new level of which was announced by the Living Wage Foundation on Monday, 15 November.

Manchester City Council, which became an accredited Living Wage Employer in 2019, and anchor institutions including some of Manchester’s biggest employers already pay the Living Wage. They include The University of Manchester, Bruntwood, KPMG, Manchester International Festival, Laing O’Rourke, Barclays Bank, Jacobs,  Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Premier Care, VCSE (voluntary, community and social enterprise) and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.  

These anchor organisations are committed to work together on an action plan for the city by encouraging other employers in their sectors and across the city to pay the real Living Wage. Real progress is being made but 25 per cent of Manchester residents, and 15 per cent of employees working in the city, are still not paid the real Living Wage.  

In tandem with this, the anchor organisations are working to increase local employment – maximising the amount of their jobs which go to Manchester residents and the proportion of their spending which stays within the city. For example, almost 70 per cent of Manchester City Council’s spending with its top 300 suppliers was with Manchester-based companies.  

Councillor Bev Craig said: “The real Living Wage is vital to combatting in-work poverty and part of our wider drive to tackle inequality in the city. We believe it’s in everyone’s best interests, including employers, that workers are fairly rewarded for their work and that Manchester – a city with a proud history of radicalism – can help lead the way in this important mission.  

“We’d love to hear from any employers, large or small, private or public, who want to get on board.”  

Prof Nalin Thakkar, Vice-President for Social Responsibility for The University of Manchester, said: “Our University is an important part of the Manchester community, so we are proud to be a Living Wage Foundation accredited employer. Offering good pay, alongside a comprehensive package of benefits, is an important way for us to recruit and retain staff and make the University a great place to work.”