Unions’ upset as living wage proposals dropped

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UNION chiefs have reacted with anger after plans to introduce a minimum ‘living wage’ to lift low-paid workers out of poverty were dropped.

Health and council bosses in Doncaster have both ruled out introducing the pay band, despite growing nationwide calls for the £7.45 wage.

Doncaster Council and Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have announced that there are no plans to introduce the move in the foreseeable future.

Steve Ball, assistant branch secretary of Doncaster UNISON said: “We are disappointed Doncaster Council has stated that it is not proposing to implement the living wage at this time.

“After two years of reducing our members’ terms and conditions it would seem that this would be a step in the right direction and show that they do actually value their lowest paid members of staff. The financial implications are negligible and we will be lobbying DMBC to change its mind.”

Rhian Johnson, acting branch secretary of Doncaster and District Bassetlaw Union Health, said: “We are actively campaigning for a living wage for all workers. Our health workers do an amazing job and should have the dignity of a living wage.

“Supporters are eager to see it introduced especially in light of Sheffield Council’s announcement that 275 employees will now receive the wage from January 2013.

“However, Doncaster Council will not follow suit, primarily due to concerns over large budget cuts.”

Simon Wiles, director of finance and corporateservices, said: “It may be something that we can implement in the next two or three years but it is very difficult to introduce it at a time when we have massive budget cuts to make.”

Health chiefs have also discounted the plan, stating that DBH NHS Foundation Trust salaries are tied into national pay scales.

A spokesman added: “We plan to look at the living wage in coming months.

“There are also talks at a national level, so we will look to see what happens with those.”