OU staff set for Living Wage

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Staff at the Open University will now be paid the Living Wage, a move which has been greeted by many around the city.

The move, which will extend to outsourced contract staff, has been made by 400 other employers across the country as part of National Living Wage Week.

The Living Wage, the amount calculated to be the amount of pay per hour needed to support a family with essentials, is currently set at £7.65, which is above the minimum wage of £6.31 an hour.

Currently all direct employees of the Open University are paid above the Living Wage level but a number of contract staff are not.

Alan Burrell, Director of Estates at The Open University said: “It is important, as a socially-responsible employer, that all of our staff are able to provide for themselves and their families. We know that there are potential benefits for the OU too, such as increased motivation and morale. We are proud to become a Living Wage employer.”

From August 2014 contract staff including cleaners, caterers and a small number of affected security staff will move on to to the new pay scale.

Debbie Wilson, who leads the campaign for the Living Wage for Citizens:MK said: “Citizens MK are delighted to hear that such a big employer as The Open University has decided to pay its contracted workers the Living Wage. It is also timely that we are able to celebrate this announcement during Living Wage week. The Open University now joins with other companies which include KPMG, Barclays, Unity Trust Bank, Legal and General and the Trade Union Advance who are paving the way to help every worker in the city to earn enough to provide their family with the essentials of life.”

Parliamentary candidate for Milton Keynes South, Andrew Pakes, also supported the news. He said: “I am really pleased that that Open University has become the latest major employer in Milton Keynes to extend the living wage to its staff, including outsourced workers. With prices rising faster than wages, too many people are struggling to make ends meet despite being in work. As Ed Miliband has said this week, we need to make work pay.

“The Open University is joining other city employers like KPMG and Barclays in paying the living wage to its staff. Milton Keynes should be leading the way on becoming a living wage city. Labour will offer employers a tax break to help more firms make the living wage possible.”