Living Wage campaign bolstered by recent successes

Image credit: Photo: Images_of_Money

Recent successes in the Cambridge Living Wage Campaign have encouraged renewed calls to spread the living wage across Cambridge. This comes as a new survey indicates that the gap between pay and living costs is on the increase nationally.

Last week King’s College Council committed to paying all staff the living wage, while the city council recently agreed to pay all employees of private contractors working for the council this benchmark figure of £7.65 an hour.

These achievements have encouraged the Cambridge University Labour Campaign (CULC) and Cambridge’s Labour Parliamentary Candidate, David Zeichner, to push for further implementation of the living wage across all of Cambridge.

The Living Wage officer on the CULC executive committee, Micha Eversley, told The Cambridge Student: “123 staff at King’s will receive a huge boost to their attempts to meet the basic costs of living.

"However, many of the poorest members of our community are still struggling to make ends meet, as rising living costs make it harder and  harder to get by. The living wage is needed by all our University’s staff, who are struggling through a difficult time.”

This new drive comes as a national report ‘Squeezed Youth: The Intergenerational Pay Gap and The Cost of Living Crisis’, reveals that whilst all generations have been affected by falling wages because of the recession, the youngest workers are 
being hit hardest as the pay gap widens and the cost of living rises.

The study found that consumption on essentials, such as housing, fuel, power, food and transport, now accounts for 45% of a 20-something’s annual household expenditure, an increase of 7% since 2001/2.

Mr Zeichner explained that this mirrors the experience in Cambridge: “Cambridge is a young city, and young people are being hit 
particularly hard. With housing costs in the city rocketing, but wages static, life is increasingly hard for many young people.”

In light of these concerns, CUSU’s Living Wage Officers, Ben Bayley and Fiona Woolston, expressed delight at the recent decision of King’s council: “It goes to show the power of student solidarity … This is the perfect opportunity to expand 
the campaign into other colleges and increase the pressure on the University as a whole to become a Living Wage Employer.”

Harry Peto, JCR President of one of the worst-performing colleges in terms of paying staff the living wage, explained to TCS that Clare College was considering ways to implement the living wage.

He said: “There are lots of Clare students who passionately believe that the living wage should be subscribed to by the College. A move is therefore being made to ensure that all part-time and full-time staff are paid the living wage."

However, he noted: “We are waiting until April for some figures on casual staff in the catering department … before we can look 
into discussing with College a pledge to pay the living wage across the board.”



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