Campaigners celebrated today after Sheffield University announced they would pay staff the living wage of £7.65 an hour.
The move will benefit 400 staff and comes after lobbying from the Sheffield University Living Wage Campaign, trade unions and the local MP.
Sheffield Central Labour MP Paul Blomfield, who recently spoke in the House of Commons on the problems created by low pay, welcomed the decision: “The University is one of Sheffield’s major employers and is sending out a powerful message by committing to introduce the living wage, and I hope that others will follow their lead.
“Paying the living wage is an important step towards ending poverty pay and growing income inequality.”
Unlike the minimum wage which is £6.31 an hour, the living wage is re-calculated each year, taking into account any rise in the cost of living.
Currently the living wage is £8.10 in London and £7,65 across the rest of the country.
But the increased wage will not apply to the staff working at the students’ union.
Yael Shafritz, Sheffield University Student’s Union President, said: “The Students’ Union are thrilled that the university has decided to take this step in paying fairer wages.
“The living wage is not just a pragmatic response that helps staff, it is a moral imperative for any values led organisation. We’re happy to work with a university that not only values its entire staff but listens to the concerns of its students and workers.
“We also want to highlight that although this is a great step it is only the first one and we will continue campaigning and working with the university to ensure it provides the support and funding for all Unicus and Student Union staff to be paid the living wage.”
Olivia Blake, Co-Chair of the Sheffield University Living Wage Campaign, said:
“We are disappointed that the university has decided against giving the Students’ Union the funding necessary to implement the living wage as well.
“While this is a partial victory we will continue to campaign for Students’ Union and contracted staff. We will not consider this a job done until they are paid at least the living wage.”