University committee backs Living Wage for staff

A University committee has recommended that the Oxford University Council approve a paper calling for the implementation of the Living Wage for all staff in University central buildings and departments. The paper was discussed by the University’s Planning, Resources and Allocation Committee on Tuesday 27th May. The committee has now agreed to recommend that the University should support the principle of paying the Living Wage, on the understanding that it should seek accreditation by May 2015.

The Oxford Living Wage Campaign had campaigned for members of the Committee to support the paper. The campaign also held an event outside the meeting, offering cookies to members of the committee and information about the Living Wage.

To become eligible for Living Wage accreditation the University would have to commit to paying the Living Wage to all staff in central buildings and departments. The value of the Living Wage is set every year by the Living Wage Foundation.

The recommendation by the Planning, Resources and Allocation Committee follows a similar recommendation made in Hilary term by the University’s Personnel Committee.

The University Council will now reach a decision on whether to adopt the measure, prior to the beginning of Michaelmas term 2014.

Andrew Grey, Chair of the Oxford Living Wage Campaign stated, “I am delighted that two senior university committees have agreed that it is both right and feasible for the University of Oxford to accredit as a Living Wage employer. If approved by the University Council, this decision will impact the lives of hundreds of staff, and sends a clear message that the University values all of its staff.”

Daniel Tomlinson, OUSU Vice-President for Charities and Community said “The University is now taking the idea of paying a Living Wage to all of its staff really seriously and I’m really happy that this penultimate committee is recommending that the University of Oxford should become a Living Wage employer.

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“This has been a long time coming, but hopefully by the end of next year (if University Council agrees with the recommendation) there will be no staff in the central University paid less than the Living Wage and the University will have made a public commitment to fair pay that will stand for many years to come.

“The focus now must return to the colleges, many of whom are paying a Living Wage but not taking the positive step of accrediting as Living Wage employers. The Living Wage Campaign began in colleges and it will now be going back to where it all began. I encourage students who want their college to accredit to get in touch. We have now built up a network of favourable University staff who we would love to put interested students in contact with.

“There is certainly more to do but the decision today is the biggest step in the right direction this campaign has seen since it formed over 6 years ago”

A University spokesperson commented, “The Personnel Committee and the Planning and Resources Allocation Committee recognise the potential advantages of a commitment to the Living Wage, but further work will be needed to explore the implications of accreditation before Council can make a final decision.”