Bolton College has pledged its support to a campaign aimed at eradicating the scandal of poverty pay.
The College has signed up to the Living Wage – a national campaign in Further Education (FE) colleges across England and Wales – which promises to pay staff a fair, liveable salary. The Living Wage rates have been set at £8.55 an hour in London and £7.45 outside London.
This initiative, which is led by UNISON, together with the National Union of Students (NUS) and Labour students, has already lifted more than one thousand education workers out of poverty pay and onto a ‘living wage’. For many, the campaign has meant a pay rise of more than £1 an hour.
Bolton College is one of the first colleges in the North West to sign up to the campaign. Momentum is now building up across the country with 58 per cent of colleges paying the ‘living wage’. Ashley Williams, a UNISON member who works at Bolton College and Marie Gilluley, the College Principal explain why the Living Wage matters.
Ashley Williams, sports attendant at Bolton College, said: “I was on the minimum wage, however, it changed in my October pay. It means instead of just trying to get by, I am now a bit more comfortable. I’m going to start learning to drive, which I couldn’t afford to do before. It’s made it easier to meet my rent and now I’ve got more money at the end of the month to buy clothes, if I need any. I don’t have to budget as much and it has meant I can join the union, which makes me feel more secure at work. I’ve been able to go out more with friends; I now feel if they’re going out for a meal I can go too without worrying about it.”
Marie Gilluley, Principal of Bolton College, said: “Bolton College is pleased to support UNISON’s campaign for a Living Wage. We believe that all of our staff hold equal importance when it comes to contributing to the overall success of the college, and we recognise that staff must feel able to engage in how the organisation operates. As an employer, we also see this commitment as positive employee engagement and believe that it will have a positive impact on morale, customer service and turnover levels.”
Theresa Griffin, UNISON Regional Lead for HE and FE welcomed Bolton’s lead, “We hope that the approach adopted by Bolton College will be replicated in all colleges across the region; it make economic sense and promotes equality”.
The campaign has united workers, students, community groups, employers and Colleges. It was led by a joint letter to Colleges from UNISON General Secretary, Dave Prentis, and David Miliband MP, calling on them to pay the Living Wage.