Union praises “positive” step by university bosses

Solent UniversityUNISON has welcomed Southampton Solent University’s commitment to provide a ‘top-up’ payment to staff employed by the university’s main contractors, to ensure nobody working on campus is paid below the Living Wage.

The union has been actively campaigning for the introduction of the Living Wage for employees of the contractors that operate within the university and believes that this to be an important step forward.

Regional organiser James Smith said: “We are delighted that the university has taken this positive step and encouraged that the time that UNISON members have devoted to campaigning on this issue has seen such an positive result.

“This decision will uplift the pay of the lowest-paid staff who provide key services to the university and its students.

“It has the potential to alleviate some of the financial pressures experienced by our members due to the increased cost of living in recent years. This measure will be good for the local economy and follows the decision of other large local employers in Southampton – such as the Labour-led Southampton City Council– to pay the Living Wage to its staff.”

All the university’s directly-employed staff are already paid above the Living Wage rate. The three main contract service partners will make the uplift in wages to their staff working across the Solent campuses.

The Living Wage rate is being introduced in two stages: the first increase will be made on 1 August 2015, with full alignment in September 2016.

The decision has the potential to affect cleaning, maintenance and catering staff who provide services within the university sites.

Making the announcement, vice chancellor Professor Graham Baldwin said: “We value our contracted staff, who make an enormous contribution to the university through a variety of roles. I am pleased that we are taking this step to finance a phased increase in wages through our main contractors, so that their staff will receive a living wage rate in the future.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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