A Sheffield builders’ merchants has become only the 12th employer in the city to sign up to the Living Wage scheme - as it prepares to invest £1m and create 10 jobs.
Pagets has committed to pay staff a minimum of £7.85 - the national minimum wage is £6.50. The move affects five of the 30 staff who work at depots in Heeley and Hillsborough and will cost £3,500-a-year.
The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University and updated annually. It has the backing of the Prime Minister and Labour leader Ed Miliband.
Nationally, there are 1,200 accredited employers, some 79 in Yorkshire and the Humber and 12 in Sheffield.
Pagets director Robert Copley said its ethical stance had boosted morale and was helping to turn the company around.
The firm has received a £150,000 Regional Growth Fund grant and a bank loan and plans to spend £1m on a new warehouse, offices and trade counter at its Broadfield Road site in Heeley and create 10 jobs.
Mr Copley said he and company secretary Steve Scutt suggested the increase to the board after the Living Wage hit the headlines last year.
He added: “It went down really well as a proactive initiative. We just thought the minimum wage was too low, you can’t bring up a family on that money.
“We try to be fair to our staff and reward them and it’s definitely paying off, they are much more motivated and the improved performance is filtering through to the bottom line.”
Pagets is owned by Belinda Anglin.
Mr Copley, who joined in June 2010, added: “Pagets struggled through the recession but we have really turned it around. The dividend to shareholders has really gone up and Belinda thought it was a good idea to put something back.”
The firm is buying its fifth new £100,000 crane lorry next week and has “massively improved” customer service, he added.
Charles Paget and business partner Lawrence Garner, who were both plumbers merchants, founded C Paget & Co Ltd in 1959. They ran a combined plumbers’ and builders’ merchant business in Sheffield until 1970 when they sold the company to new owners. It was sold again in 1974 and started trading from Infirmary Road in Hillsborough. It expanded in the late 1980’s to a much larger site at Broadfield Road, Heeley, which also became the company’s head office.
Living Wage Foundation Director, Rhys Moore said: “We are delighted to welcome Pagets to the Living Wage movement as an accredited employer.
“The best employers are voluntarily signing up to pay the Living Wage now. It is a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.
“We have accredited over 1,300 leading employers ranging from independent printers, bookshops and breweries, to well-known companies such as Nationwide, Aviva and SSE. These businesses recognise that clinging to the national minimum wage is not good for business. Customers expect better than that.”
n Accredited Sheffield Living Wage employers include: Sheffield Science Park Co, Direct Plastics Ltd, Rocksure Systems, Church Army, Patient Opinion Ltd, Pep Vending Co, Spaghetti Construction Ltd, It’s My Life, Recycling Revolution, Key Fund (Investments) Ltd.