The Living Wage is an hourly rate, which is calculated each year as what is needed to afford the cost of Living in the UK. Currently it stands at £7.45 an hour (outside of London).
Unfortunately the minimum wage in the UK isn’t enough to afford the cost of living today. This is currently £6.31 an hour for those aged 21 and over, £5.03 for those aged 18 – 20, or £3.72 for anyone aged 16 – 17.
The Living Wage means not just having literally enough to you keep alive, but having food, shelter, and also having the opportunities and choices you need in order to participate in society. It is about having a minimum, socially acceptable quality of life.
Whilst overall the number of children living in poverty in the UK has decreased in recent years (estimated as 2.3 million in 2012), the number of children living in poverty in households where parents are in work has actually risen. Increasingly people are finding it impossible to get by on the minimum wage alone. Many working families are facing crisis, being forced to turn to food banks, loans, or hand-outs.
The Living Wage for Wales
Case study: St. Joseph’s Catholic and Anglican High School, Wrexham
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TCC's lead organiser Kay Polley (left), at the launch of Cuts Watch Cymru's Living Wage Charter at the Welsh Assembly.
After being approached by TCC in 2013, St. Joseph’s Catholic and Anglican High School in Wrexham made the decision to ensure all of its staff are paid the Living Wage. As a result 12 members of staff received a pay increase. The positions include cleaners, administration assistants, and teaching assistants. All 12 employees are female. Headteacher Mrs Maria Rimmer said “This move shows our commitment towards our staff and fully displays the ethos of our shared faith community”.
In 2010 TCC got the Diocese of St Asaph to commit to paying the Living Wage to all employees, and in 2011 the Presbyterian Church of Wales also made the same commitment.
Mrs Maria Rimmer, head teacher, with pupils from St Joseph's Catholic and Anglican High School.
In 2008 TCC succeeded in getting the Welsh Government to pay the Living Wage to all its employees.
Workers paid a Living Wage work harder, take fewer sick days, and stay in their jobs for much longer. Some employers, such as Barclays bank, have found that the money saved from these benefits meant that paying the Living Wage was cost neutral.
What you can do
If you're affiliated with a group or church which employs staff, find out if they are paid a Living Wage. Even if they employ staff through a contactor you may be able ask them to increase pay.
Consider approaching local businesses - TCC can provide support and infrormation.
You can meet with your local county councillor to get them to ask for a Living Wage for council employees. TCC has a step-by-step guide available with lots of useful facts for the meeting. Please get in touch if you would like any support or resources.
If you know of a local employer who already pays the Living Wage please tell us so we can celebrate their achievement!
Most importantly, if you earn less than the Living Wage please get in touch - people's personal testimony (anonymous or otherwise) is the most important tool in this campaign.
Sign up to support TCC's Living Wage campaign.
By adding your name to TCC's Living Wage campaign you are joining TCC in calling for fair pay for all workers. You will recieve information about how you can get involved with action for the Living Wage in your area.
Of the 2026 jobs at Flintshire Council which are paid less than the Living Wage, 89% of them are done by women.