Labour councillors have called for an independent pay commission in Bristol to provide workers with a more realistic ‘Living Wage’, to reflect the higher living costs in cities such as Bristol.
A Bristol Fair Pay Commission would be asked to recommend a realistic hourly rate of pay for the city – above the minimum wage.
The call comes after the ruling Liberal Democrats on Bristol City Council announced last week that the lowest-paid employees at the council are in line to receive a pay award this year.
The Cabinet agreed that those earning less than the Living Wage, currently set at £7.30 an hour, should be offered the one-off award despite the current pay freeze. The current minimum wage is set at £6.08 for workers aged 21 and over.
“When times are tough the lowest paid suffer the most – we want the widest consensus in the city through an independent fair pay commission to demonstrate clearly to the lowest paid that we are on their side,” said Cllr Peter Hammond, leader of Bristol’s Labour councillors.
“As one of the largest employers in Bristol we should be leading the way in offering a fair hourly rate and a fair pay structure as an example to follow for all employers in the city,” says Cllr Hammond.
According to a report to the Council’s Human Resources Committee meeting on Friday, the pay ratio between the council’s Chief Executive and the lowest paid worker is currently 15.6 to 1.
“Labour wants a highly motivated and effective workforce delivering front-line services for the people of Bristol but we also have a responsibility to do what we can to help those who are the poorest paid in our City,” Cllr Hammond added.
“Bristol is an expensive city in which to live, housing costs are high, and we need to recognise this in what we pay the City’s lowest paid employees.”
The move has been backed by Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy. “Bristol is not a cheap place to live and hardworking people are struggling to make ends meet as the cost of living continues to increase,” she said.
“The Council is right to take the lead on fair pay and I hope Bristol employers will consider paying their employees a living wage.”