York Labour Women’s Forum are campaigning for City of York Council to ensure that all their service suppliers’ workers are paid the Living Wage. Recent press coverage including the UN Special Rapporteur’s initial findings on poverty in the UK and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s report UK Poverty 2018 have brought urgent and timely attention to the issues surrounding relative and in work poverty and their disproportionate effects on women.
The campaign will involve street stalls and door knocking sessions, as well as a petition calling on City of York Council to fully live up to it’s commitment as an accredited Living Wage employer. Members wishing to sign the petition can find it here: www.change.org/p/city-of-york-council-pay-the-living-wage
The real Living Wage is £9 per hour for areas outside London for 2018-2019. It is calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission and is based on true UK living costs. The government’s ‘national living wage’ is not calculated according to the costs workers and their families need to live. You can find out more about it here,
The report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that over 14 million people in Britain are currently living below the poverty line, 8 million of them in families where at least one person is in work. 4.1 million children are currently living in poverty. York is not immune to these problems.
Rachel Melly, prospective Labour council candidate for Holgate said: “York is a beautiful and historic place with a lot to be proud of. But it is a high cost, low wage and insecure work city. Too many working people are trapped in a struggle to make ends meet, and many working families can’t afford to pay basic living costs. Currently in York, 6,346 children are living in poverty, most of these in working households. York Foodbank handed out 3,379 emergency food supplies last year.”
Prospective Hull Road candidate Aisling Musson added: “The most effective way of lifting families out of poverty is by putting money in their pockets by paying a wage that reflects how much it costs to cover their basic living costs. Low wages predominantly affect single parents in part time service-based work, 90% of these workers are women. York has a high percentage of jobs in this category.”
As part of its accreditation as a Living Wage employer, City of York Council (CYC) is committed to paying all its directly employed workers the real Living Wage, and has been doing this since 2013. The second part of the accreditation commits CYC to implementing a plan to make sure all its service suppliers also pay their workers the Living Wage. This part of the commitment has not been fully implemented. This would make a big difference to the income of York people working in the care sector, in our schools, and in cleaning services. Women are the predominant group of workers in these services jobs.
As well as calling on the council to live up to its commitment to ensure that all its service suppliers pay their workers the real Living Wage, York Labour Women’s Forum are also calling on them to encourage as many York employers as possible to commit to paying the Living Wage and/or becoming accredited Living Wage employers themselves
To get involved in the campaign, or to find out more, please contact Claire Douglas at firstname.lastname@example.org