Balliol JCR gives living wage to staff

Balliol JCR has become the first common room to sign up to pay a Living Wage to its staff.

The Junior Common Room has agreed to increase its core levy charge on members by £1.33 to pay a living wage to five of its staff. The motion presented in the last JCR meeting argued, “If members of the JCR support the payment of a Living Wage to JCR staff in principle, they should be prepared to support it in practice with a direct increase to the JCR core levy”.

Hannah O’Rourke, a Balliol student, campaigned in favour of the motion. “Living wage is a very important issue especially in times of recession. A job should keep you out of poverty, not keep you in it”, she said.

She added that the move was “a useful way to apply pressure on colleges and the university. If we, as student employers, can pay a living wage, then surely they can to.”

JCR President Iain Large praised the principle that has been turned into practice. “The JCR has shown its support for the Living Wage Campaign for many years in principle. It is good to see that it supports it in practice too, by agreeing to fund a living wage for the staff it employs.”

Felix Flicker, the campaigner and a student at St Catherine’s college commented on the motion. “This is a vital step towards achieving a Living Wage in both Balliol College and the University as a whole. It is a further demonstration that student support for the campaign is very strong. Students aren’t content to be provising poverty pay salaries: nor should Balliol College be.”

The Living Wage Campaign argues that the £5.15 minimum wage is not enough for Oxford residents to live on. It suggests that all workers in the city should be payed at least £7 per hour to reflect the city’s housing, transport, and groceries costs.

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Next week The Living Wage campaign is to hold a ceremony honouring institutions that pay the sufficient amounts to their staff. President of Oxford UnionCorey Dixon, OUSU President-Elect Stefan Baskerville and the Oxford Mayor will all receive a certificate of recognition.

Corey Dixon said the Union “was already a living wage employer and the event was conducted to publicly show our support”.

Oxford Council last week guaranteed all employees a minimum living wage, while OUSU has supported the campaign since its inception in 2006.