Oxford University plans to announce its commitment to pay the Oxford Living Wage to its staff from August 2020.
The Living Wage in Oxford is £10.21 per hour as of November 2019, when the council increased it from £10.02.
To become an accredited Living Wage Employer, all directly employed staff need to be paid a Living Wage, with a plan to extend it to regular sub-contracted staff.
The Oxford Living Wage Campaign, a student organisation that has pressured the University into adopting the living wage, says: “These workers, who are employed in cleaning, catering, events, maintenance, and other necessary jobs, are an integral part of our university community. Excluding them from this protection is shameful.
“In the long term, the new policy is dangerous for workers—even those who will benefit initially from the Living Wage today.
“By leaving a loophole that excludes outsourced workers from the Oxford Living Wage rate, the policy generates a perverse incentive for the University to hire more subcontracted workers at a lower rate of pay, rather than creating good, sustainable living wage jobs. We call upon the University to commit to paying all workers, including subcontracted workers, the Oxford Living Wage. We call upon constituent Colleges to adopt the Living Wage standard for all staff, regardless of contract.
“There is no longer any excuse for low pay in the Colleges, while the University acknowledges its obligation to workers. We understand that the new policy deepens the precarity of non-academic work at the university; this move complements the university’s complicity in the worsening casualization of academic jobs. We join in solidarity with non- academic and academic workers, organized through the UCU, in the fight against casualization and insufficient pay across the UK higher education sector.”
The City Council sets the Oxford Living Wage as 95% of the London Living Wage, which is £10.75. The national minimum wage for adults is currently £8.72. The £10.21 Oxford Living Wage means, if an employee works a 37 hour week, they will receive a minimum annual pay of £19 644. This is calculated by using the Minimum Income Standard, which finds what people need to be able to afford the basic level of goods.
Oxford City Council says: “The Oxford Living Wage has been created to promote liveable earnings for workers. It reflects the fact that Oxford is one of the most expensive cities to live in the UK, and helps accredited employers demonstrate they value their workforce.
“With expensive housing in the city, many workers have to choose between spending more money to live in the city, or more on travel to get to work. The Oxford Living Wage has been created to promote liveable earnings for workers. It reflects the fact that Oxford is one of the most expensive cities to live in the UK, and helps accredited employers demonstrate they value their workforce.”
A spokesperson for Oxford University said: “The University of Oxford can confirm it has agreed to sign up to pay the Oxford Living Wage (OLW), making it the largest employer in the city to do so. More details will be announced shortly. As part of our commitment to the OLW, we have also agreed to include all sub-contracted employees as soon as practicable.
“Colleges are independent employers and will make their own decisions on the Oxford Living Wage, but they are collectively considering the details of the scheme.
“The OLW is 95% of the London Living Wage, in recognition of the high cost of living in Oxford, and was set in November 2019 at £10.21 per hour. “