Alan Charles and Hardyal Dhindsa with supportive members of staff and Unison
As national Living Wage Week gets underway across the country, Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles can today (Monday, November 3) reveal that the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has now received formal Living Wage accreditation.
The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently every year which is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. Employers can choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis to demonstrate their commitment to tackling poverty.
All employees currently working for the OPCC in Derbyshire already receive an hourly rate that meets or is above the Living Wage, however the new accreditation status means any external contractors entering the competitive tendering process or carrying out work for the organisation must adopt the same standards and pay their staff engaged on Commissioner’s contracts accordingly.
The announcement came on the same day the Living Wage Foundation revealed its new hourly rate for 2014 which stands £7.85 outside London. This also marked the beginning of Living Wage Week which is a UK-wide event celebrating employers who have received accreditation status and aimed at increasing awareness of the Living Wage principles.
Commenting on the announcement, Commissioner Charles said: “I am delighted that the OPCC is now an accredited Living Wage employer. This status is symbolic of our commitment to fairness and accountability across our wider working environment. As a responsible employer, we recognise the hardships many families face, especially in the current economic climate, and want to play our part to make life a little easier.
“I believe that all workers should be paid a fair and reasonable rate for the work they complete. Employers have a social duty to protect the welfare of their lowest paid staff and enable them to live a life above the poverty line.
“We know by experience that many social problems including crime originate from financial adversity and as a public protection champion the OPCC wants to make a positive difference to the lives of those who work with us. Although the OPCC’s pay structures already exceed the Living Wage criteria, our accreditation sends out a very powerful message that we need to place more value in our workers, regardless of role, and appreciate the contribution they make to the UK economy.”
The Unite Union’s regional officer, Kevin Hepworth, said: “Unite fully support the decision to achieve Living Wage Accreditation across the OPCC in Derbyshire, employees of the providers of goods and services to the OPCC will now receive a reasonable wage. This will help lift many workers out of poverty and in turn will help others by their spending power being increased. We hope every organisation, especially where funded through Tax and Rates, will follow the example of Alan Charles and Hardyal Dhindsa and bring an end to workers poverty in the UK.”
Derbyshire Police UNISON branch secretary and branch chair welcomed the news, saying: “Unison’s Derbyshire Police branch are pleased to hear that their PCC has signed up to the living wage. UNISON nationally has fought long and hard for employers to sign up and get this accreditation and we are pleased that our PCC is amongst those choosing to do so.”
The Living Wage is calculated to the basic cost of living using the ‘Minimum Income Standard’ for the UK. Decisions about what to include in this standard are set by the public and the final figure is set annually by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University. The Living Wage is set considerably higher than the national minimum wage of £6.50.
Living Wage Foundation Director, Rhys Moore said: “We are delighted to welcome the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire to the Living Wage movement as an accredited employer.
“The best employers are voluntarily signing up to pay the Living Wage now. The Living Wage 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 1,000 leading employers, including Derbyshire OPCC, ranging from independent printers, hairdressers 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 and communities expect better than that. "
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Monday 3rd November 2014