North Somerset Lib Dems welcome the decision by Portishead Town Council to become a Real Living Wage Employer, made in their Full Council Meeting on January 20th 2021. The decision, which was seconded by Cllr Sue Mason and supported by Lib Dem Cllr Steve Temple, proposed the town council becomes a Living Wage employer from 1 April 2021 and from that date will pay the higher rate for the relevant staff grade, the Real Living Wage.
The Living Wage Foundation has set a voluntary higher “Real Living Wage” at £9.50 outside of London. You can become a “Living Wage Employer” by adopting this. This proposal follows the decision of Weston-super-Mare to become a Real Living Wage employer in August 2020.
Cllr Huw James, representing Portishead South on North Somerset Council welcomed the proposals, saying: "With so many people struggling with in-work poverty, this motion from Portishead Town Council is commendable and I support it. It's absolutely vital that towns, parishes, and indeed North Somerset Council role-model good employment practice by paying a Real Living Wage and it's amazing that Portishead are leading the way in this. I hope that all business in Portishead consider paying a Real Living Wage, as this will make a real difference to reduce in-work poverty in an area with such high living costs."
Cllr Sue Mason, representing Portishead West on North Somerset Council added: "I think this a great proposal, I particularly welcome that we're proposing to ensure our contracts pay a Real Living Wage, I think that will make a lot of difference to people in Portishead"
The additional cost to the council of increasing minimum pay to this level is estimated at £1,200 per annum.
In a meeting last November, Cllr James pushed for North Somerset Council to become a Real Living Wage Employer. In response, council leader, Cllr Don Davies replied that three council staff employees (excluding apprentices) are paid a below the Real Living Wage and their salary will be increased in February 2021. It was proposed that North Somerset Council Scrutiny should look at the council's policy on payment of the Real Living Wage by contractors to determine whether this could be strengthened.