A CALL to introduce a Living Wage for South Ribble Council staff has been dismissed - because council leaders claim staff currently get a ‘better deal’.
A motion on the matter was put before the council at a meeting this week.
It was proposed by Coun Mick Titherington, who called on the council to ‘acknowledge’ there is a huge gap between the rich and poor in the UK.
The motion stated: “The council accepts and supports the concept of the Living Wage and therefore resolves to: Adopt a living wage for all staff - whether employed directly by the council or employed by a private sector contractor.
“Publish the highest to lowest pay ratio for directly employed staff.
“Publish the highest to lowest pay ratios for all private sector companies that have contracts with the Council.”
However the motion was not supported by councillors - the vote was 27-16 against the motion.
Speaking after the meeting South Ribble Council Leader Margaret Smith said: “In our opinion the employees at this moment in time get a better deal than the Living Wage.”
The Living Wage is an hourly pay rate set independently and updated annually.
It is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK.
And employers can choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis.
Its supporters say it is ‘good for business, good for the individual and good for society.’
Coun Titherington said: “I do feel absolutely strongly about it.
“I was bitterly disappointed, but unfortunately not surprised. The conservative party in South Ribble oppose anything radical or progressive brought forward.”
He added: “It would have been a small step but would have been one I think we could have shown we are committed to helping those people less fortunate.”
Coun Keith Martin who seconded the motion said the issue had been highlighted by a resident.
He said: “We didn’t put it forward to boost everyone’s money it was for the council to show it is a social engine for fairness and fair pay.
“It was about everyone.
“To show what is the right and moral thing to do in these times.”
Coun Martin added: “We will try again sometime in the future.”
Preston Council is a Living Wage employer.
It has been paying its staff a Living Wage since 2008.
It is now seeking accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation which will enable it to say it is officially a ‘Living Wage Employer’.