Christmas has come early for Preston Council staff after plans to pay every employee nearly £2 more than the minimum wage have been announced.
A total of 101 out of 1,600 workers will get a pay rise to £7.45 an hour, under plans voted in by Preston councillors last week to adopt a “living wage”, according to the Lancashire Evening Post. The national minimum wage (NMW), which went up in October, stands at £5.73 an hour.
Contractors working for the council are also set to receive the same amount, under the plans which could cost more than £40,000.
Labour councillor Matthew Brown, who proposed the motion, said the move would bring many workers and their families “out of poverty”. He said: “It is nothing, it is about 40% of the chief executive’s salary and for that we can help 101 low paid staff.”
However, Conservative members and some Liberal Democrat councillors opposed the announcement last week, claiming it would lead to some redundancies.
Liberal Democrat councillor Bill Shannon said: “Let’s be clear, what we are talking about here is making two or three people redundant to afford that £40,000.”
All Preston Council employees currently earn more than the NMW. The local paper reported that council leader Ken Hudson looked “dismayed” at the council vote, and warned other members the authority had injected some £3m into a job evaluation exercise already.
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