Plans to help some of the lowest paid in Newcastle with a living wage will be discussed at a special event next week.
The purpose of the Let’s Talk Fair Pay event is to have a conversation about fair pay and what a living wage could mean for Newcastle and the wider region.
Business leaders, academics and members of the voluntary/community sector are expected to attend, and it’s hoped will give their opinions on the subject.
The city council set up a panel last year to examine the costs and benefits of a living wage which reported its findings and recommendations in April this year.
The council is committed to setting up a living wage for its lowest paid members of staff as part of a move towards fair pay and fairness across the city.
However, the issue is not without its challenges, and in a bid to extend a living wage across the wider public and private sectors, the council is keen to hear the views of partners and businesses.
Leader of Newcastle City Council, Coun Nick Forbes, said: “Paying a living wage is an investment in people and families and a major part of our work to tackle inequality – that is why we will lead from the front and introduce a living wage in the council.
“A living wage makes business sense too, as those on low incomes are more likely to spend their money locally which can safeguard and create jobs in the North East's economy.
“The council is just one part of this. To make a big impact it’s important that a living wage is implemented beyond the council in other parts of the public sector and the private sector.
“Having said that, there are number of challenges, and concerns among some employers which we hope to address when we meet with our partners.”
Mick Thompson, Office Senior Partner at KPMG in Newcastle, said: “Paying the Living Wage is not only an element of sound corporate citizenship but makes commercial sense.
"The calibre, productivity, motivation and loyalty of our facilities staff, for example, has improved since we implemented the Living Wage. The result is that we have better service levels without an overall cost increase.”
The Let’s Talk event will take place on Monday, September 10, 3pm to 4.30pm at the Civic Centre.
The council is committed to introducing a living wage for all staff to at least £7.20 an hour. Many organisations are currently paying or planning to pay a living wage, such as KPMG.
A living wage describes the minimum hourly wage needed for food, shelter, clothing and other basic needs.
Employers pay a living wage purely on a voluntary basis – there is no legal requirement.
Page last updated: 6 September, 2012