Thousands of dinner ladies, cleaners, street sweepers and other low-paid workers will see pay rises in a major commitment to equality by Birmingham City Council’s new cabinet.
In a move hailed as providing a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, the council will begin paying the Living Wage of £7.20 an hour to 2,500 staff, mainly part-time cleaners, carers and kitchen staff, from 1 July.
The move will benefit roughly six per cent of the entire workforce. Of those affected, 88 per cent are women working in roles that are traditionally hard to recruit and have a high turnover.
Councillor Ian Ward, council deputy leader, said: “It is only right that our hardworking employees get a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work – and up to now that has not been the case for thousands of staff.
“The Living Wage will make a real improvement to the quality of life for those affected, and research from elsewhere where it has been introduced shows that attendance, motivation and loyalty are all improved along with better recruitment and retention of workers.”
The pay rise, which could also include an additional 500 school staff, will cost the council an extra £1.3 million a year.
The living wage is based on the cost of living and is substantially higher than the minimum wage of £6.08 per hour. Currently the council’s lowest paid workers receive £6.39.