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Town hall honours pay pledge

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MORE than 200 survivors of Wigan Council’s massive cuts programme are set to get a pay rise.

They will see their pay go up as the authority introduces the “Wigan Living Wage”.

The authority’s lowest paid staff will see their wages go up to £7.45 an hour – for some that will be an increase of 88 pence an hour.

The move is part of the town hall’s aim to be a responsible employer and ensure its staff get a fair wage.

The council is now calling on other employers in the borough to follow its lead and pay their staff the rate.

It comes after several years of being forced to chop millions from its budget due to Government cuts and losing thousands of staff.

Council leader Lord Smith said: “We think this will prove value for money in the long run.

“Other organisations have implemented a living wage rate and reported lots of benefits such as improved staff morale and performance.

“I’d encourage other employers in the borough to consider adopting it.”

An employee on the council’s lowest pay scale working a 37-hour week would be £32.56 per week better off.

This equates to an annual increase of £1,698.

Many of the staff affected work in the school catering area.

The council is currently talking to headteachers to extend the increase to all school staff.

The move has been backed by the borough’s trades unions.

Unison branch secretary Stuart Fenton said: “Poverty pay and high prices mean daily misery for hardworking families.

“We are pleased our Wigan Council members will receive the increase.

“It will make a big difference to them and their families”.

David Hope from the GMB union said: “We are happy the council has taken this positive step.

“Staff will be able to have a decent standard of living and give their families the essentials in life.”

The council has committed to implement the increase until March 2015 and will review it annually from then.

 

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