“There are over a thousand members of staff working at our University who are being paid below the living wage,” according to Nottingham student, Mike Pugh.

The University of Nottingham turned over £511 million in the year ending 31st July 2011. The highest earner at the University is the Vice-Chancellor who earns £340,000 per year. On the other end of the scale,student workers employed by the Students’ Union are paid at the National Minimum Wage; £4.98 per hour for under 21s and £6.08 per hour for over 21s.

According to pay scales, the maximum the SU could pay anyone is £45.65 per hour. This would be for a CEO-type role, although no one is currently paid this salary.

Pugh, along with fellow students Sally Davidson and Sam Leach, are lobbying the University to implement the policies of the Living Wage campaign within the University framework.

The campaign forms part of planned Labour policy to introduce a ‘living wage’ calculated according to the basic cost of living. This is estimated currently to be £8.55 in London and £7.45 nationally.

[Wages per hour] Living wage: £7.45 (nationally), £8.55 (London).

Minimum wage: £6.19.

Buckingham Palace cleaners: £6.67.

In 2010, 10.7 million people in the UK were at risk of living in working poverty. These statistics have not changed in 2012. Many individuals living on the national minimum wage of £6.19 live in working poverty, and are alleged to sustain two or three jobs to match living costs.

Speaking to Impact, Mike Pugh highlighted why he thought it was important to bring the living wage to Nottingham.

“A lot of these are people students have daily contact with, especially if you live in halls. They are caterers, cleaners and even some members of the University’s administrative staff.

 

“But what we don’t know is if these people might have another job, or perhaps three. Some might not get to see their children at night, and we think frankly that just shouldn’t happen at a university of Nottingham’s calibre  This is something students should get involved in, and stop happening on our own campus.”

Sally Davidson, President of Labour Students, submitted the motion to Students’ Union Council in December to introduce the campaign to UoN. Although Labour students originally introduced the campaign to Nottingham, Pugh said the motion itself was not submitted on behalf of a political party, saying, “this is every students’ prerogative and something all parties should be getting involved in.”

In 2010, 10.7 million people in the UK were at risk of living in working poverty.

The Motion was passed by SU council on 11th December meaning that the Union has now resolved to lobby the University to pay a Living Wage to all its employees.

A University spokesperson told Impact: “The great majority of University of Nottingham staff are earning above the level described as the ‘Living Wage’.

“The University is widely regarded as a good employer. The pay and benefits package for staff at the lower levels of pay compares favourably with staff working in equivalent positions outside of the sector.”

“If students learn to act in public life with the people they don’t yet know, then the public life in cities like Nottingham will really come alive.”

Ben Pollard, Community Organiser for Citizens UK; the group that has helped develop the Living Wage campaign since its start in 2001, highlighted the importance of student involvement in wider social issues.

“If students learn to act in public life with the people they don’t yet know, then the public life in cities like Nottingham will really come alive.”
Antonia Paget

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