Increase in the number of employers offering a “real” living wage in Winchester that matches the cost of living

Winchester employers have joined the voluntary living wage scheme, paying employees a salary commensurate with the cost of living, over the past year

The Living Wage Foundation encourages employers to register to pay a “real” living wage, above minimum wage and reflecting the cost of living.

The rate, which is calculated by a group of economists and applies to employees aged 18 and over, currently stands at £9.90 an hour in the UK and £11.05 in London , to reflect rising prices in the capital.

By comparison, the government living wage is £9.50 per hour for those aged 23 and over and £9.18 for those over 21.

There are now more than 15 real living wage accredited employers in Winchester at the start of July, up from 11 at the same time last year.

Soaring fuel, energy and food prices have put wages in the spotlight. Leah Campbell, CEO of Winchester accredited employer Action Hampshire, said: “Our team of staff are our greatest asset as an organisation. Having experienced poverty in my own life, I know no one can do well. do his job if he is in difficulty to provide for their basic needs.

“With so many changes happening in the economy, it is difficult as an individual employer to know what a fair wage is – listing for Living Wage also helps give us an indication of what what our minimum wages should be, without having to do extensive research on our own.

“As a support organization for charities, community groups and social enterprises, we know the financial pressures in the sector at the moment, and that some VCSE employers will struggle to deliver the living wage. However, we believe this is the right thing to do for our charity and we are proud to be part of this campaign.”

Winchester-based telecommunications and solutions company Kid-A also explained why they believe it is important to be a real living wage employer.

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Co-founder Andy Silcock said, “We want to create the most amazing workplace possible because we believe in treating the amazing people who helped us build Kid-A as best we can. That’s why we’re proud to be a real-wage employer. We wanted to create a creative and unique environment in which our employees can produce their best work, which benefits our partners and customers. Being a real wage employer is a very important part of creating that environment.

“We don’t want to collect badges, but joining causes like living wage is important, especially as we enter unprecedented times with the rising cost of living – we want to make sure our employees get the support they need, but fundamentally be the best employer we can be. We want to attract and retain the best talent and these accreditations are an important beacon to signal that talent in the marketplace.”

Hampshire Chronicle:

BeGreen Cleaning, based in Staple Gardens, signed up for the Living Wage scheme when the company started about three years ago. The cleaning service supports its workforce of 20 to 30 people. Managing Director Shaun Brogan said: “People need money to live on, so that’s a no-brainer. We are an ethical and environmentally focused company, we try to do good by all and for us, it is part of our DNA to pay people a living wage.

“It’s just about giving people enough money to live on and recognizing that it’s more than a minimum wage job.”

Hampshire Chronicle:

Other Winchester companies accredited as real living wage employers include:

  • Savills-Winchester, Jewry Street.
  • Big Mallet Ltd, Jewry Street.
  • Earthian Zero Waste Shop, Parchment Street.
  • Barclays Bank PLC – Winchester, Jewry Street.
  • Oxfam Books and Music – Winchester, Parchment Street.
  • CUPE International, St. Thomas Street.
  • The University of Winchester.
  • Williams & Co – Winchester, Winnall.
  • GEP Environmental – Winchester, Basepoint Business Centre.
  • Warrens Office, Moorside Road.
  • Oxfam shop, High Street.
  • Nationwide Building Society – Winchester, High Street.
  • Rathbone Brothers Plc – Winchester, Southgate Street.
  • Secure Meters (UK), Moorside Road, Winnall
  • Jude’s, Northfields Farm, Twyford

Katherine Chapman, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said the cost of living crisis has made raising wages for low earners “more important than ever”.

She said: “Paying the living wage is not only the right thing to do for struggling workers and families, but it is also good for business, with employers benefiting from improved morale and a increased staff productivity, and reduced absenteeism and turnover”.

The foundation announced in May that 10,000 employers had joined the scheme, covering almost 350,000 workers, or around 1 in 13 employees in the UK.

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As of July 1, 10,765 organizations were paying real living wages across the UK, up from 8,107 in 2021 and 3,383 in 2017.

Researchers at Cardiff University estimate this provided an additional £1.8 billion for low-paid staff.

The latest estimates from the Bank of England suggest that inflation could reach 13% in the fourth quarter of this year. A Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesperson said: ‘We know the pressures people are facing with rising costs, which is why we have continuously taken action to help households by phasing in £37bn of support.

For more go to livingwage.org.uk/.

Michael A. Bynum