Lady Margaret Hall’s JCR voted last night to demand that the College pay its staff the Oxford Living Wage, but the motion will not take effect until Michaelmas due to concerns about the impact of a staff wage increase on student rents.
An amendment to delay the motion’s implementation until Michaelmas was accepted by the proposer after JCR Vice-President Ryan Caesar spoke against the motion, arguing that the proposals would translate into higher rents for students.
The motion states: “LMH should stick by the progressive principles on which it was founded and be the first college to pay the Oxford Living Wage. Anything below this is an affront to the workers who make this college what it is from the scouts to the kitchen staff. By paying this wage, we can take the first step to addressing the inequality between rich and poor in this city.”
The original motion resolved to: “Tell LMH to pay workers a wage which allows employees to live with some dignity.”
After concerns were raised about the effect of higher staff wages on College rents, however, the proposer of the motion accepted a motion to delay this request to the College until the next academic year.
The JCR’s Independent Chair Matthew Judson said it had been an orderly debate and there was no reason to comment further.
The Oxford Living Wage is currently set at £10.09 an hour, a rate which is meant to reflect the higher costs of living in Oxford compared to other cities. The rate is set by the City Council, in consultation with local charities. No colleges currently pay the Oxford Living Wage, although PPHs Campion Hall and Blackfriars both do.
Last week St Hugh’s JCR rejected a motion to create a new officer to “liaise with college staff and help promote the Living Wage in college”. The motion failed by 39 votes to 26.