Birmingham has been recognised for making Birmingham a Living Wage City today (15 November).
This follows Birmingham City Council and local employers’ work to ensure their staff are paid a real Living Wage that helps meet every day needs.
It was announced along with the new Living Wage rate £9.90 for all workers aged 18 and over to mark the start of Living Wage Week (15-21 November), at a special event hosted at BVSC’s headquarters in Digbeth.
The event, hosted by Cllr John Cotton, Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Community Safety and Equalities and Amrick Singh Ubhi, Vice Chair of BVSC and Director of Civic Engagement at Nishcam Civic Association, also showcased employers such as the Archdiocese of Birmingham, National Express, and West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office.
Birmingham City Council signed up to becoming a Living Wage employer in 2012, lifting 1,700 council employees more than 600 non-council employees out of low pay onto the real Living Wage.
To date around 7,000 workers across Birmingham have seen their income rise as a result of more city employers committing to paying the Living Wage.
Cllr Cotton, who also chairs the Making Birmingham a Living Wage City Group, said: “This is fantastic news for Birmingham, as employers big and small are signing up to pay their employees the real Living Wage.
“The fact the rate has gone up to £9.90 is great but there’s still more to be done as almost 20 per cent of the city’s workforce still don’t receive this level of pay – and it’s an even higher proportion for women.
“This about social justice and so, as a city, we have to lead by example. Our ambition over the next three years is to double the number of people in Birmingham being paid the real Living Wage”
Since then, Birmingham City Council has been joined by more than 100 Living Wage employers with headquarters in Birmingham – including some of the biggest names in finance, transport and construction.
The Living Wage Foundation leads the national campaign – which began in 2001 – for employers to pay the real Living Wage, which is the only UK wage rate paid voluntarily by more than 9,000 businesses in the UK, benefitting around 300,000 employees.
Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “Today’s new Living Wage rates will provide a welcome pay boost for thousands of workers throughout Birmingham and the West Midlands.
“We are also delighted to recognise Birmingham today for Making Birmingham a Living Wage City, with the city planning to double the number of workers getting the real Living Wage to 14,000, freeing many more families from the low pay trap. We hope to see many more towns and cities in the West Midlands follow suit.”