Hundreds of staff working for the University of Cambridge are set to receive a boost to their pay packets after the university signed up to the living wage thanks to Unite.
The union hailed the move as Cambridge is one of the most expensive cities in the UK in which to live.
Enshrining the payment of the living wage, currently £8.75 an hour outside London, is understood to start in the summer and will cover all staff, including contractors who will have to offer the living wage by 2020.
The Living Wage Foundation recommends the rate (£10.20 in London) which is voluntary and not to be confused with the lower paying national living wage which is compulsory.
Welcome pay boost
“This is a very welcome pay boost for hundreds of hard working people in a region with a very high cost of living, commented Unite regional coordinating officer Ian Maidlow.
“This cost of living in and around Cambridge is largely driven by the very presence of the university and its world-class status as an institute of learning, teaching and research.
“The university has belatedly recognised that its workforce is not solely made up of high-earning academics, and that technical and support staff play an essential role in the smooth running of the university,” he said.
Maidlow continued, “The fact that there is now a commitment to pay the living wage to those lower-paid people whose hard work enables the university to maintain its global reputation for excellence is good news, but it should not stop there.
“This must be a milestone on the journey towards paying everybody a real living wage wherever they work and live.”
The result was welcomed by Unite senior rep at the university, Will Smith. Smith said, “We welcome this as a sign the university recognises that lower waged staff are struggling with the cost of living in Cambridge.”
Unite has about 500 members at the university in mainly technical, laboratory, estates and maintenance roles.