As part of TCC's Living Wage campaign, Minera Voluntary Aided School committed to paying its staff the Living Wage. The school took this step after Reverend James Harris, the chair of governors at the school and trustee of TCC (Trefnu Cymunedol Cymru / Together Creating Communities), suggested that they provide a pay rise to the school’s lowest paid workers. Headmaster Mr Andrew Partridge was more than happy to support the idea as he was keen to provide his staff with a wage which ensures they earn enough to live on.
The Living Wage is calculated every year, and takes into account what is needed in order to have a minimum, socially acceptable standard of living.
A small celebration was held at the school by TCC who have recently launched the North Wales Living Wage campaign. Kay Polley, lead organiser at TCC said “This is an amazing achievement for Minera Voluntary Aided School who are really leading the way. It will make a huge difference to the staff affected, and we’re hoping that it will now encourage other schools and churches to consider paying the Living Wage too.”
Minera Voluntary Aided School is the first primary school in the diocese to take this step, following St Joseph’s Catholic and Anglican High School decision to pay the Living Wage last year, as well as commitment from the diocese itself. Bishop Gregory Cameron said “It was a very easy commitment and an easy win for us to say that our Diocesan officers and office cleaners would be on a Living Wage. The truth is many people are finding they can’t survive on their wage, they can’t afford to buy basic food stuffs. I think that’s an incredible situation for our society to be in. We really ought to be giving people a Living Wage.”
Headteacher Mr Andrew Partridge said “I was convinced straight away that it was an excellent idea and contacted the Human Resources/Payroll division to find out how this would affect the school's budget. It was embarrassing how little affect it would have. It was also very pleasing to see it was affordable and we could pursue this idea. The proposal was taken to the Governors who agreed that we should go ahead. Four members of staff were to receive an increase in their monthly salary, these being some part-time staff and teaching assistants. As a Voluntary Aided school the Governors have the power to dictate salary so it was agreed that a supplement be added to our colleagues take-home pay which would reflect the Living Wage being applied. There has been a slight delay in putting all of this into operation but there will be some backpay in the December pay packet which should be a useful extra ready for Christmas. From this point on Minera Voluntary Aided School can be pleased with itself that, as the first primary school in Wrexham to pay the Living Wage, we are spearheading an important and worthwhile campaign.”
Evidence shows that employees paid the Living Wage work harder, take fewer sick days, and stay in their jobs for longer, which can offset the costs of paying more. Putting extra wages into the hands of local workers also puts more money into local economy, meaning it’s beneficial for the whole community, but especially for working families who could be lifted out of poverty. One third of children in Wales live in poverty, and the majority of those children have parents who are working.
TCC can offer support and resources for organisations, community groups or schools who are interested in paying the Living Wage, and are currently looking for more people to join the campaign.