London Borough of Barking and Dagenham introduces living wage

On Tuesday 12th February the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Council agreed on a ground breaking decision; All permanent Council staff and agency staff currently being employed by the Council will be paid a minimum hourly rate of £9. This figure which totals to around £16,425 a year is higher than the present London Living Wage (LLW).

Barking and Dagenham is the first borough in the United Kingdom to implement such a scheme and it is hoped that many others will follow suit, especially in London where there is a higher cost of day to day living.

Following the decision taken on Tuesday Cllr Liam Smith, Leader of the Council was interviewed by ITN news, you can watch the interview here:

Announcing the decision Council Leader Liam Smith said:

“The decision shows the Council's commitment to supporting our workers. We have over 1,500 low paid workers and this decision impacts on those who need it most like cleaners, catering staff and teaching assistants - majority of whom are local residents.

“The Conservative led coalition government is hitting working people all the time with policies such as the bedroom tax, universal credit and changes in council tax benefit. The average person in Barking and Dagenham cannot be blamed for the situation we find ourselves in, but face the full consequences of it. This is not something I believe in and not something I am prepared to go along with. This Council is dedicated to protecting the interests of our residents and this decision is another way of doing so.

“Barking and Dagenham is leading the way in ensuring our staff has a true living wage and we would hope other local authorities will follow our lead in doing what is right.”

Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham commented:

“I commend the recent decision made by the Council Cabinet in Barking and Dagenham. With rising heating costs, above inflation price hikes and damaging governmental policies being introduced in April such as the bedroom tax, this move will help support the local work force.

“The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham are leading the way and setting a fantastic example to other local Councils, particularly those in London. It is essential that we make provisions for people in low paid jobs as we are beginning to see more and more individuals and families falling through the cracks unable to support themselves, with the wages to cost of living ratio crippling local communities. This is the first step in combating that, I strongly urge all other Councils to follow suit and introduce a living wage.”