One-off boost for lowest paid council workers in Bristol
HUNDREDS of low-paid council workers in Bristol have been awarded a one-off lump sum to give them a living wage.
The payments, which range between about £200 and £1,500, are a top-up for the lowest paid council workers including cleaners, janitors, kitchen assistants and non-teaching school staff such as dinner ladies.
It will cost the council nearly £1 million to make the payments which will be found from this year's budget underspend and from school budgets for non-teaching staff.
In total, there will be 247 council workers and 272 non-teaching staff who will receive the payments.
They currently earn between the national minimum wage of £6.08 and what is regarded as a living wage of £7.30.
The living wage has been agreed nationally by a charity called The Living Wage Foundation and which has been introduced in other cities.
The payments, which will be made in October, have been approved unanimously by the council's human resources committee.
It follows a promise by the council to address the issue of low pay among staff.
Councillor Sean Emmett, an assistant cabinet councillor, said: "This pay award recognises that the cost of living in the city has risen significantly over the last few years without any accompanying national wage increase for employees.
"We are committed to national pay bargaining and understand the need for pay restraint.
"But the reality is that the lowest paid council employees have been hit the hardest.
"Our long-term aim is to move towards an affordable but fair pay structure."
Councillor Mike Wollacott, Chair of the HR Committee said: "This proposal received cross-party support and backing by the trade unions.
"This is a one-off award and is a positive step in the right direction towards fair pay."
Steve Paines, Unite Trade Union Convenor, said: "Bristol is the only authority in the South West region that is proposing to make a pay award to those staff earning below the living wage."