Living wage cash boost

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The Glasgow living wage is to increase to £7.20 an hour from April, in a bid to tackle in-work poverty.

With 80,000 workers in Glasgow earning less than a living wage, GCC is encouraging local businesses to sign up to the scheme to pay the level of income required to provide an acceptable standard of living.

The move means the basic salary of the lowest paid council workers will increase by more than £1100 a year.

Now, more than 150 organisations, employing more than 50,000 people, have signed up to the Glasgow living wage.

But a pair of local councillors still believe more needs to be done to get fix the problem of poverty in the city.

SNP MSP and Langside councillor James Dornan told The Extra: “I would urge GCC to make it part of any contract with the council that those companies involved must sign up to the living wage.

“That would go a long way to helping other low paid workers.

“It’s just a shame the last Labour government never tackled this problem by increasing the minimum wage substantially.

“Hopefully we will have the powers here in Scotland to do that ourselves in the near future”.

Meanwhile, a Pollokshields Conservative councillor has dismissed the move as a “PR stunt”.

David Meikle said: ”If Labour wants to really tackle the issue of inequality they should cut the salaries of the chief executive, directors and other top positions as I proposed in my budget amendment.

“I welcome any measures to pay people a living wage but a five pence wage increase for employees strikes me as more of a PR stunt in the run up to a local government election in May 2012”.

Council leader Gordon Matheson explained the reason for the policy.

He said: “When we first discussed the possibility of establishing a Glasgow living wage, the world was a different place.

“The economy was buoyant, unemployment was low and the number of jobs being created across the country was increasing all the time.

“But times have changed. In times of recession, the impact is most keenly felt by low paid workers.

The Labour man continued: “The Glasgow living wage is a vital step towards creating a fairer, more prosperous Glasgow”.