Union backs rises

A UNION has welcomed council proposals to introduce higher wages for low-paid workers.

Around 500 Hartlepool Borough Council employees, including cleaners and lollipop men and women, could see their pay rise by around 15 per cent if the council introduces a living wage.

Workers would see their hourly pay rise from £6.38 to £7.45 at a cost of £209,438 a year if the council adopts the idea.

Mike Hill, Unison regional organiser, said the move would be a big boost to workers.

He said: “We recognise that the council is only looking into the feasibility of implementing a living wage, but the union is of the firm belief that this is a bold step towards eradicating low pay and an investment in the right direction.

“Not only would this be a much needed boost for workers who have had no pay rise for the last few years, but there are also wider economic benefits for the town as the living wage would introduce additional spending power – helping to boost local businesses and create greater investment.”

The Living Wage Foundation encourages local authorities and businesses to sign up to a £7.45 hourly rate or as close to it as possible.

The minimum wage for workers over 21 is currently £6.19 an hour.

Councillor Geoff Lilley, of the Putting Hartlepool First Group, has raised questions over its affordability.