Sutton Council U-turn on London Living Wage pledge

Boris Johnson raised the London Living Wage to £8.80 last year

Boris Johnson raised the London Living Wage to £8.80 last year

First published in News
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Sutton Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

Sutton Council has made a U-turn to guarantee all its workers the London Living Wage.

Companies and organisations that sign up to the London Living Wage, backed by London mayor Boris Johnson, guarantee to pay staff a minimum of £8.80 an hour - seen as the minimum a Londoner needs to live on plus a small amount more to spend.

It equates to a salary of just over £15,000-a-year for someone who works 35 hours each week.

Last year, Liberal Democrat Councillor John Drage said Sutton Council could not afford to pay the London Living Wage as it would mean staff having to lose their jobs to cope with the extra costs.

But, after pressure from Conservative and Labour Councillors, Sutton's Liberal Democrats had a change of heart and pledged to give all the council's workers the London Living Wage.

The chance in policy was announced at a council meeting on Monday night after a motion calling on the council to adopt the policy was raised by Tory Coun Graham Witham.

In reply, Liberal Democrat Colin Hall said: "I'm pleased this has been raised. We've been looking at ways to implement this so I'm pleased to say that we support the motion and will implement it from April this year."

The motion was carried unanimously.

Coun Witham said: "Currently welfare is subsidising low pay. This motion tests each member on their priorities when it comes to council spending. It tests each member as an individual on their commitment to the ideals of fairness.

"The thrust of any council should be to do what it sees as right and this council will do what it sees as right even if, at times, it does not seem easy."

Coun Drage, who told councillors the move would cost jobs at a meeting in November, was not at Monday's meeting.

It is believed the cost of bring all council staff up to the London Living Wage will be around £140,000.

Councillors said the measure will be good for the borough as a whole as the increased pay will create a happier workforce and the money will be reinvested in the local economy creating more jobs.

 

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Comments (6)

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1:36pm Tue 14 Jan 14

Binsanity says...

"Last year, Liberal Democrat Councillor John Drage said Sutton Council could not afford to pay the London Living Wage as it would mean staff having to lose their jobs to cope with the extra costs".
Why was this councillor not present at the above meeting bearing in mind how staunchly opposed he was to paying council staff the London Living Wage.
"In reply, Liberal Democrat Colin Hall said: "I'm pleased this has been raised. We've been looking at ways to implement this so I'm pleased to say that we support the motion and will implement it from April this year."
I don't imagine Councillor Hall being at all pleased otherwise this issue would have been dealt with at source. Will he be back dating the increase when this is implimented, at the end of the finanicial year, just prior to the elections.
"Last year, Liberal Democrat Councillor John Drage said Sutton Council could not afford to pay the London Living Wage as it would mean staff having to lose their jobs to cope with the extra costs". Why was this councillor not present at the above meeting bearing in mind how staunchly opposed he was to paying council staff the London Living Wage. "In reply, Liberal Democrat Colin Hall said: "I'm pleased this has been raised. We've been looking at ways to implement this so I'm pleased to say that we support the motion and will implement it from April this year." I don't imagine Councillor Hall being at all pleased otherwise this issue would have been dealt with at source. Will he be back dating the increase when this is implimented, at the end of the finanicial year, just prior to the elections. Binsanity
  • Score: 4

8:24pm Tue 14 Jan 14

Margaret_Hale says...

In exchange for a living wage can we please have a full day's work? No skiving, chatting, fag breaks, pointless time-wasting or frittering away the day with unnecessary meetings. And definitely no writing 50 page reports, printing them in glorious technicolour and circulating them to dozens of people to justify your job. Most of all please think SEVERAL TIMES before spending ANY of the council-taxpayer's hard-earned money.
In exchange for a living wage can we please have a full day's work? No skiving, chatting, fag breaks, pointless time-wasting or frittering away the day with unnecessary meetings. And definitely no writing 50 page reports, printing them in glorious technicolour and circulating them to dozens of people to justify your job. Most of all please think SEVERAL TIMES before spending ANY of the council-taxpayer's hard-earned money. Margaret_Hale
  • Score: -4

7:16am Wed 15 Jan 14

Niki R says...

Appalling that the Lib Dems had to br shamed into this after refusing it so bluntly just a couple of months ago. Living Wage employees are more loyal, committed and feel calued- cutting HR and recruitment costs in the ling term. I've helped businesses move to this scheme and every one reports an upturn in engagement, productivity and wirking culture. Why did the Lib Dems have to have their hand forced to see beyond the end of their noses?
Appalling that the Lib Dems had to br shamed into this after refusing it so bluntly just a couple of months ago. Living Wage employees are more loyal, committed and feel calued- cutting HR and recruitment costs in the ling term. I've helped businesses move to this scheme and every one reports an upturn in engagement, productivity and wirking culture. Why did the Lib Dems have to have their hand forced to see beyond the end of their noses? Niki R
  • Score: 3

8:41am Wed 15 Jan 14

Giles C says...

Niki R wrote:
Appalling that the Lib Dems had to br shamed into this after refusing it so bluntly just a couple of months ago. Living Wage employees are more loyal, committed and feel calued- cutting HR and recruitment costs in the ling term. I've helped businesses move to this scheme and every one reports an upturn in engagement, productivity and wirking culture. Why did the Lib Dems have to have their hand forced to see beyond the end of their noses?
Because they saw they were losing the argument and they couldn't afford to open another defensive front what with the Incinerator,Brighton Rd CarPark,Henderson Hospital,Recycling..
etc....
[quote][p][bold]Niki R[/bold] wrote: Appalling that the Lib Dems had to br shamed into this after refusing it so bluntly just a couple of months ago. Living Wage employees are more loyal, committed and feel calued- cutting HR and recruitment costs in the ling term. I've helped businesses move to this scheme and every one reports an upturn in engagement, productivity and wirking culture. Why did the Lib Dems have to have their hand forced to see beyond the end of their noses?[/p][/quote]Because they saw they were losing the argument and they couldn't afford to open another defensive front what with the Incinerator,Brighton Rd CarPark,Henderson Hospital,Recycling.. etc.... Giles C
  • Score: 3

9:43am Wed 15 Jan 14

Niki R says...

Now let's find out how many staff are employed on zero hours contracts.
Now let's find out how many staff are employed on zero hours contracts. Niki R
  • Score: 3

3:23pm Thu 16 Jan 14

LiberalsOut says...

Margaret_Hale wrote:
In exchange for a living wage can we please have a full day's work? No skiving, chatting, fag breaks, pointless time-wasting or frittering away the day with unnecessary meetings. And definitely no writing 50 page reports, printing them in glorious technicolour and circulating them to dozens of people to justify your job. Most of all please think SEVERAL TIMES before spending ANY of the council-taxpayer's hard-earned money.
Spot on !!!!!
A friend of mine has been working at the Council for a while now and cannot believe what a holiday camp it is compared to working in the private sector for over 20 years
Staff either seem to be sick - shopping online - 2 or 3 people doing a job one person could do
How is this wage increase to be paid for?
I have not had a wage rise for 5 years now but will no doubt be expected to subsidise the Council workers - their pension and those who do not pay the Council Tax
[quote][p][bold]Margaret_Hale[/bold] wrote: In exchange for a living wage can we please have a full day's work? No skiving, chatting, fag breaks, pointless time-wasting or frittering away the day with unnecessary meetings. And definitely no writing 50 page reports, printing them in glorious technicolour and circulating them to dozens of people to justify your job. Most of all please think SEVERAL TIMES before spending ANY of the council-taxpayer's hard-earned money.[/p][/quote]Spot on !!!!! A friend of mine has been working at the Council for a while now and cannot believe what a holiday camp it is compared to working in the private sector for over 20 years Staff either seem to be sick - shopping online - 2 or 3 people doing a job one person could do How is this wage increase to be paid for? I have not had a wage rise for 5 years now but will no doubt be expected to subsidise the Council workers - their pension and those who do not pay the Council Tax LiberalsOut
  • Score: -1

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