£1m bill for Sandwell Council Living Wage pay rise
Hundreds of council and school staff can look forward to a pay packet increase next year in a move set to cost the council around £1million.
All Sandwell Council staff members will be paid the Living Wage as a minimum from April next year - costing the council around £1million over three years.
The move was confirmed by the council's cabinet on Wednesday and will look to benefit hundreds of council workers and school staff as their pay packets will increase by six and eight per cent.
Sandwell council cabinet member for core council services, Councillor Steve Trow, said: "This is going to make a significant difference to many people.
"With the cost of living rising, it's people on the lowest wages who feel the pinch the hardest.
"By committing to paying the Living Wage, we'll be directly improving the standard of living for hundreds of people working for the council and in our schools."
Among those poised to benefit from the increase are cleaners, learning support assistants, playworkers, nursery staff and school crossing wardens with 150 council employees and 650 school staff in total who will benefit.
The move has been welcomed by unions as an 'important step'.
A Unison spokesperson said: “This will put money in the pockets of low paid workers making a real difference to the lives of hundreds of workers and their families.
"The council should be commended for taking this important step towards full Living Wage accreditation.”
Unite said the move would benefit Sandwell as a whole and assist all West Midlands employer in removing 'poverty pay', with GMB dubbing it a 'step forward' on the living wage.
GMB expressed hope that the council would become an accredited Living Wage Employer in the future.
The pay increase will apply to staff currently on pay Band A and the lower increments of Band B.
The Living Wage is a figure set independently based on what people need to earn to live.
For 2018 it is expected to be set at around £8.70 an hour, compared with the national living wage of £7.50 for over 25's.