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Council to match new Living Wage rise to £9.75 an hour in 2017

Southwark Council has confirmed it will match the increased London Living Wage in 2017 when it rises to £9.75 an hour.

The voluntary wage increase was announced on Monday by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, and businesses such as Ikea, Lloyds TSB and EDF Energy are also joining local authorities.

Since 2012, Southwark has paid all of its employees and contractors the London Living Wage (LLW) currently at £9.40.

The authority also said it is “leading the charge” in calling on more employers to follow suit with the policy, which is widely supported by trade unions, community groups and charities.

Barbara Costa, an employee of Jane Jefferson Cleaning Ltd who lives in Nunhead, told the News that earning the LLW made a difference of £300 a month.

“At the end of the month it really makes a difference,” Barbara, 41, said.

“It means I have more money to spend on my twelve-year-old son to help with things he needs for school. And it means I feel much more independent.

“It makes me feel more confident, and like my job is more worthwhile. It has made a real change for me and my other colleagues.”

Councillor Johnson Situ, cabinet member for business, employment and culture, said: “Southwark is a trailblazer when it comes to the living wage from working with local businesses, we know what a challenge it can be for others to follow suit.

“However the benefits that can come from simply offering a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work are there to see for companies that offer London Living Wage including more committed and motivated staff and a higher quality of work.”

On October 21 the council also produced a report on the ‘London Living Wage Symposium’, which included research from the Living Wage Foundation showing.

The Foundation found that 80 per cent of employers believe the Living Wage “enhanced the quality of their staff’s work”. The employers it surveyed also reported that absenteeism fell 25 per cent on average.

Two-thirds of employers also reported a significant positive impact on recruitment and retention within their organisation. 70 per cent of employers felt the Living Wage increased consumer awareness of their organisation’s commitment to be an ethical employer.

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