Low-paid Telford council workers to receive early pay rise

Low-paid council employees in Telford will see a 20p-per-hour wage rise four months ahead of schedule, a finance officer has revealed.

The Telford & Wrekin Schools Forum heard that the £9.30 to £9.50 increase “would have taken place on April 1 anyway”, but was introduced early by the borough council to support its workers.

Group accountant Tim Davis told the forum, which consists of education and childcare representatives, that it meant a “modest” £7,000 extra cost to council-maintained schools.

Chairman Gill Eatough said it was “the right thing to do”.

The 2020-21 statutory National Living Wage for over-25s is £8.72. The Real Living Wage, a voluntary rate recommended by the Living Wage Foundation, stands at £9.50 outside London and £10.85 in the capital this year.

Mr Davis said council-maintained schools would be getting an email from HR about the rise shortly after the Schools Forum meeting.

“Telford and Wrekin Council has decided it wants to implement the National Living Wage from December 1,” he said.

Communication

“We only just found out about this ourselves, but we did some modelling yesterday.

"For maintained schools, the cost across the sector is around £7,000, so this is a modest cost, to say the least, but we wanted to let you know in advance of a communication going out to all schools.

“The council is, obviously, doing it because it wants to be seen as doing all it can to make sure all of its employees get a living wage.

"It’s done with the very best of intentions and, obviously, there is the knock-on effect to schools as well.”

Mr Davis said the increase applied to voluntary controlled and community schools, and voluntary-aided and trust schools were assumed to agree with it “unless you tell us any differently”.

Schools Forum chairman Gill Eatough, who is also a former principal of Hadley Learning Community and now Executive Principal of the Learning Community Trust, said: “In the current climate, you have to agree it’s the right thing to do. People are on such low incomes.”

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