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SOLIHULL Council have been accused of stalling on the decision to implement the Living Wage for its poorest paid workers.

The motion to introduce the wage - which would see workers pick up just under £1 more an hour - by the next financial year, was proposed to Full Council by Solihull’s Labour members in July.

The motion to introduce the wage - which would see workers pick up just under £1 more an hour - by the next financial year, was proposed to Full Council by Solihull’s Labour members in July.

But last Friday, the remuneration committee voted to wait until the Local Government Employers, the representative for local authorities in pay disputes, had finished ‘evaluating the implications’.

Coun Simon Slater (Lab, Shirley West) accused the members of ‘kicking the proposal into the long grass.’

“Tory-run Solihull Council has shown itself to be morally bankrupt in how it treats thousands of invaluable but low paid employees,” he said.

“It is now clear that the council is not on the side of the least well off. Clearly we are not all in this together.”

Over 1,500 council employees, including dinner ladies, cleaners and classroom assistants, would benefit from the Living Wage of £7.20 an hour if introduced, increasing the council wage bill by at least £535,000.

Over twenty per cent of local authorities in England and Wales, including Birmingham, already pay the Living Wage, according to the thinktank One Society, while Solihull Council’s minimum wage is £6.31.

A Solihull Council spokesman said: “The proposal to introduce the Living Wage has not been rejected.”

They added it would be revisited down the line.

David Williams, Unison Solihull branch secretary, said the union would be demonstrating outside the council house on October 16 to call for the policy to be introduced.

“We want councillors to wake up and realise they can end poverty for hundreds of local families by agreeing a LivingWage,” he added.

At last week’s meeting, the committee also voted to increase the starting wage for many senior council officers, although maximum salaries will remain the same.

 

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