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Girton becomes second college to gain living wage accreditation

The college has committed to paying their own and contracted staff a minimum of £9.30 per hour


Girton has become the second Cambridge college to receive a Living Wage accreditation, six years after Queens made the same commitment.

In contrast, 14 out of the 39 Oxford University colleges are Living Wage Foundation accredited.

The ‘Real Living Wage’ is higher than the government's national living wage for those 25 or older of £8.21 per hour, and it is calculated independently every year to reflect the real cost of living in the UK. It is currently set at £10.75 in London, and £9.30 in the rest of the UK.

More than 75 employers in Cambridge are now accredited with the Living Wage Foundation. Colleges set their own wages, although the University has paid all its directly employed workers the Real Living Wage since 2014.

Former Girton JCR Vice-President Dea Begaj commented: "At Girton, we believe everyone has the right to a minimum payment for their work in order to ensure they can survive, so we were incredibly happy when the Real Living Wage proposal was passed by our College Council.

"It's particularly great as student helpers recruited by the School Liaisons Office are also entitled to this rate of pay. We’re very proud of the fact that Girton was one of the first colleges to implement this change, and we look forward to seeing the other Colleges achieving the same soon."

In November, the Living Wage Campaign (LWC) published the rates of pay for 29 Cambridge colleges, which showed that Girton had provided the second highest wage to their least paid workers. Robinson and Magdalene refused to publish the requested data under the Freedom of Information Act. It was also shown that 795 college staff across the city are not earning the living wage, despite the colleges' huge estimated combined wealth of £6.9bn.

The Cambridge City Council was invited to give a presentation about the practicalities of Living Wage accreditation at Girton earlier in the year before the college became accredited itself.

CUSU President Edward Parker Humphreys commented: "It’s fantastic to see Girton College become a Living Wage employer and this is a big victory for the Living Wage Campaign and the students at Girton who have been putting pressure on the college to seek accreditation.

"The other 29 colleges who are not Living Wage employers need to up their game and commit to obtaining accreditation."

Despite this success, the Cambridge University Living Wage Campaign pointed out that "there is still a long way to go and we need to carry on campaigning to make sure all colleges pay their staff fairly and commit to seeking accreditation".

Cover image: Mihnea Maftei