6 November 2014

The living wage has gone up to £7.85 an hour outside London. In London it’s now £9.15.

The wage is what is needed to live a decent but basic life. It motivates workers and increases productivity, enables them to better provide for their families, and is a matter of economic justice.

The adult minimum wage is £6.50 an hour, too little to live on.

Cornwall Council has agreed to introduce the living wage for its employees from next year; that is a sterling decision which will make life better for many workers and their families in Cornwall; a robust part of the pro-Cornish agenda. I think the council should now look to its subcontractors and press them to pay the living wage and insist on it in all new contracts so far as the law allows.

A few others in Cornwall have also adopted or are adopting the living wage: Sunshine Care, Penzance and Camborne town councils, Falmouth Students Union, Atlantic House Signs at Delabole. National organisations like Nationwide, Aviva, Barclays Bank, and Abbeyfield are accredited living wage employers. You can read a list here. The example of Penzance and Camborne town councils should encourage other local councils here to introduce the wage for their employees and seek to make it a condition of all contracts. The examples of Sunshine Care and Abbeyfield should inspire others in that section to move to the living wage: it can be done.

Still to do
And others in Cornwall, wholly or with branches, still have not signed up to the living wage for their employees: for example banks, supermarkets, NHS bodies, police, solicitors. Cleaning and catering workers are among those paid less than the wage and they are often employed by third parties. We must press the private companies to insist on contracts that include the living wage.

We should lobby the political parties to support legislation to enable public bodies to insist on the living wage as a core part of a contract.

A start has been made by a capital few. We must press the slow and reluctant ones. Let us have a high aim: Cornwall, a living wage county.

Earlier posts on the living wage
Living wage spreads in Cornwall 19 June 2014

Living wage hallelujah 5 May 2014

Paid less than the living wage in Cornwall: how many and where 1 April 2014

Cornwall and the decency threshold 7 November 2013

Penzance town council, a living wage employer 29 October 2013

Cornwall Council and the living wage 16 August 2013

Living wage for Cornwall 22 July 2013

Cheers, Jude Robinson 29 October 2012

A proper Cornish wage 10 May 2012

Progress to a living wage 29 June 2011

A living wage for Cornwall 17 May 2011

The pro-Cornish wage 31 August 2010