Queens’ becomes accredited living wage employer
Although some colleges have already said they’ll pay the Living Wage, Queens’ makes history by becoming the first accredited Living Wage Oxbridge college.
After several colleges informally agreeing to pledge support to the living wage campaign over the past few years, Queens’ is now first to receive formal recognition, to the delight of many.
The mighty Citizens UK, a group which defines themselves as “an alliance of civil society organizations in the UK,” awarded them a swanky new plaque, meaning they can formally call themselves the first Oxbridge college to be formally accredited with making a wage policy change.
The hourly Living Wage, currently £7.65, is set annually by the Living Wage Foundation and calculated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University.
The Campaign website argues that implementation of a higher minimum wage can tackle poverty.
They say the adoption of the Living Wage supports Cambridge’s economy, and will help employees cope with the rising cost of living.
The Cambridge Living Wage Campaign, active since 2007, has wanted the Living Wage across all Cambridge colleges.
Support from CUSU, the CULC (Cambridge University Labour Club), and leading local political candidates, has placed the Living Wage issue high on the agenda for colleges seeking reform over the past few years.
In a surprise announcement, the uni announced in July their plans to pay the Living Wage to all directly paid employees. The likes of Homerton, King’s and Jesus already adopt the Living Wage despite no formal accrediting.
But Ben Bayley, Cambridge Living Wage Campaign chief, was reported as having labelled Homerton’s policy “systematically disingenuous,” saying some colleges claim to pay the Living Wage to all employees when they actually don’t.
Cambridge is by no means the first university to take action with regard to Living Wage, with 150 universities pledging their support in June to a formal transition, after a comprehensive vote by Unison ended disputes between union activists and university employers. In London, where the Living Wage is £8.80 per hour to reflect the higher cost of living, universities such as UCL have already been formally recognised as Living Wage employers.
Fresher Cleodie Rickard was sceptical, though: “For such a wealthy university, it seems ridiculous that Cambridge does not have a transparent system when it comes to wage allocation – I’m proud that Queens’ has been recognised but ashamed that a college hadn’t been recognised sooner!”
Congrats Queens’ – nice one.