LOWEST paid workers at Portsmouth City Council will see a pay rise by September this year, it has been decided.
At yesterday’s employment committee councillors voted unanimously to opt into the Living Wage Foundation’s real living wage which would see employees earn £8.75 an hour, up from the mandatory £7.83 for over 25-year-olds.
Council workers such as cleaners, care home laundry and domestic assistants had their wages frozen in 2015.
Council leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘It is something we should all regret that people in the lowest paid jobs had their wages frozen while all the time rent, council tax and food increased in price.
‘I agree the increase should be consolidated and not just supplementary, as a top-up, to protect not only their pay but their pensions.’
Jon Woods, from trade union Unison said: ‘Low pay is a scandal and has a human impact. It is important the council acts in a leadership role on this and sets a good example for employers.’
Tory leader Cllr Donna Jones addressed the decision to freeze wages. ‘We froze wages to save jobs with the intent to increase wages at a later point,’ she said.
‘It is wonderful to now provide the real living wage, I am really pleased.’
The increase will affect more than 100 council employees, including cleaners, care home laundry and domestic assistants, and library attendants.
Councillors agreed to extend it to employees of council contractors in the future. Non-academy schools will also be encouraged to make the change.
It is thought the change will cost the council more than £75,000 a year.