The Living Wage Campaign at the University of Nottingham is seeking to convince the University to implement a living wage for its lowest-paid employees.
The campaign, led by a cross-party student group, is working to ensure that the University’s cleaning, catering, and estate staff are paid fairly in accordance with the Living Wage Foundation guidelines.
Natasha Bednall, the Students’ Union Environmental & Social Justice Officer, told Impact: “The living wage campaign is looking to lobby the University to become a living wage employer, which would mean that every November, when the Living Wage Foundation independently calculates a wage that’s considered reasonable for a person to live on, the University commits to raising its wages along with the recalculation.”
“With an annual surplus last year of £53.8M, I believe that the University is well within its means to start paying its lowest paid staff the living wage”
According to Ellie Mitchell, SU Community Officer, the University could easily become a Living Wage Employer:
“With an annual surplus last year of £53.8M, I believe that the University is well within its means to start paying its lowest paid staff the living wage. These staff work difficult hours, often finishing their shifts before we have even got out of bed in the morning, and they deserve a decent pay they can live off.”
A spokesperson for the University of Nottingham said:
“The 2016 pay award brought our lowest paid staff up to the level of the Voluntary Living Wage, and we are offering to do the same in for the autumn 2017 pay award. We are committed to fairness, transparency, and dialogue in setting pay levels across the University.
“All staff are offered a generous package of benefits in addition to their salary, including enhanced annual leave, sick pay schemes and pension arrangements.”
“We will protest alongside cleaning, catering and estates staff against the University’s unwillingness to pay a fair living wage”
This summer the SU held a referendum over implementing the living wage in its own vicinity. The result was overwhelmingly in favour of the implementation, winning over 90% of all votes.
The Living Wage Foundation guidelines are expected to be enforced in the SU this December. The campaign hopes the Students’ Union example will help in negotiations with the University.
The funds needed to enforce the wage rise will come from a minor increase in the prices of goods sold in on-campus shops and cafes operated by the SU, such as Spar and Mooch. This will ensure the extra money does not come at the expense of student activities: “We don’t want societies and campaign groups to lose out”, says Natasha.
Ellie is encouraging students to get involved with the campaign:
“I invite any students who believe this is unfair to give up 45 minutes of their morning and join us on Tuesday 14th November at 8.30am in Trent Courtyard. We will protest alongside cleaning, catering and estates staff against the University’s unwillingness to pay a fair living wage.”
You can follow their campaign and protest under the hashtag #uoncleanupyouract
You can also join the campaign on Facebook
If you want to get involved or find out more information then you can email Natasha: firstname.lastname@example.org