Some 5,000 employers have signed up to pay their workers the “real” Living Wage, campaigners revealed today.
At least 180,000 workers have had a wallet-boosting pay rise from the accredited firms, with over £800million extra put back into workers’ pockets as a result of the campaign.
The 5,000 milestone was passed as Manchester University agreed terms with the Living Wage Foundation.
Living Wage Foundation director Katherine Chapman said: “We’re delighted to welcome the University of Manchester as the 5,000th member of the movement of employers, organisations and people committed to a real Living Wage.
“Reaching 5,000 employers is a historic milestone for the Living Wage campaign.
“It shows that businesses continue to recognise the importance of a wage that truly covers the cost of living, and the value this provides for workers and their families, as well as businesses.
“By going further than the Government minimum, the University of Manchester is helping to set the bar for others in the region and the sector.
“We encourage employers who can afford it to step up and pay a real Living Wage.”
The commitment to pay the voluntary rate will see staff, including third-party contractors, receive a minimum hourly wage of £9.
The Government’s legal minimum wage is £7.83 for workers aged 25 and over, sinking to £7.38 for those aged between 21 and 24.
The number of accredited Living Wage employers has more than doubled since the Government’s higher minimum wage, which it branded the National Living Wage’, was announced in 2016.
Manchester University’s vice-chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, said: “The University is a major employer in the city and we take our responsibility to promote good working practises extremely seriously.
“Social responsibility is a core goal of our university, and by becoming accredited with the Living Wage Foundation we have a real opportunity to influence policy in a national forum and have conversations about the benefits that good pay and working conditions bring to individuals and wider society.”
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said: ”It’s great to see an organisation as high-profile as The University of Manchester become the latest Living Wage employer in the city-region.
“As good as this news is, there are still too many workers who are paid less than the real Living Wage struggling to keep their heads above water.
“In the North West alone, around a quarter of all workers earn below the real Living Wage, with about 265,000 people in Greater Manchester earning too little to live on.”
“In one of the world’s richest nations, it should be a source of national shame that so many working people are worrying about putting food on the table, with some forced to use foodbanks.”