Greater Manchester has set a goal of becoming the first city-region to pay all employees a real living wage.
A Living Wage City-Region action group, led by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, has been established to drive forward plans to ensure all employers in the city-region pay the living wage and offer living hours by the end of the decade, as recommended by the Independent Inequalities Commission.
What is the Living Wage?
The real living wage, calculated by the Living Wage Foundation, currently stands at £9.50 and is the only UK wage rate based on the cost of living.
Currently, around 1 in 5 jobs in Greater Manchester – roughly 200,000 – pay less than the real living wage. While the rate in some boroughs is better, Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Trafford and Wigan are all below the UK average for jobs that pay the real living wage.
It’s also a problem that disproportionately affects women, with 59.5% of workers earning less that the living wage being women, while in Greater Manchester 38.2% of Black/Black British workers and 34.8% of Asian/Asian British workers are in low pay, compared with 23.8% of White workers.
Living Wage City-Region action group
The action group is chaired by Lou Cordwell, Chair of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GM LEP).
The action group will work towards creating better jobs using Greater Manchester’s Good Employment Charter, a voluntary scheme which raises employment standards across the city-region through a set of criteria including payment of the real living wage.
It will focus on seven key sectors of the Greater Manchester economy:
- ‘anchor institutions’, including large public sector organisations like councils tied to a particular place
- health and social care
- civil society
- hospitality and leisure
- large employers
- small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
- voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector
Why should employers get involved?
Evidence suggests that paying employees a living wage is not only good for workers but good for businesses, with a study undertaken by the Living Wage Foundation and Cardiff Business School finding that 93% of accredited Living Wage businesses reported they had benefited from becoming Living Wage employers.
Organisations that have made the commitment benefit from more motivated employees, enjoy a reputational boost, and find it easier to attract and retain staff.
If you’re interested in becoming a registered real Living Wage employer, there is a criteria you need to meet before applying. Visit the Living Wage Foundation website to find out more.