Cambridge University seeks Real Living Wage accreditation

PUBLISHED: 17:30 07 February 2018

A view of the iconic chapel of Kings College, University of Cambridge, UK.

A view of the iconic chapel of Kings College, University of Cambridge, UK.

Chris Schmidt

The University currently pays all directly employed University staff at or above the level of the Real Living Wage and has done so since 2014.

The University of Cambridge is seeking to re-inforce and extend its commitment to paying the Real Living Wage (RLW) by seeking formal accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation.

It has submitted a proposal to the foundation today.

This means the university has agreed to begin the formal accreditation process from the Living Wage Foundation in the current academic year, once the proposal is approved.

The Real Living Wage (RLW) is an hourly rate of pay set independently by the Living Wage Foundation, which is updated annually in November.

It is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. The RLW is currently £8.75 per hour for employers outside London and £10.20 per hour for employers within London.

Cambridge University pay the outside London rate to its employees and temporary workers.

Eilis Ferran, pro-vice-chancellor for institutional and international relations, said: “We know that Cambridge is an expensive city to live and work in. The university is a community and it values all staff. Accreditation will give our lowest-paid staff, including our on-site contractors, more security because their wage will be set by reference to the Real Living Wage benchmark.

Cambridge University Student Union (CUSU) President Daisy Eyre said: “All of the workers at this University contribute to our education and deserve to be paid fairly. I am so proud of the work done by students campaigning for this and happy that the University will be taking this step.

“I believe that this will benefit the institution for years to come. By accrediting to the Living Wage Foundation, we are building a legacy in which future generations of Cambridge staff are guaranteed a decent wage.”

The move comes after extensive consultation across the University, including with unions and Cambridge University Student Union.

Although the University is seeking accreditation in this academic year, the process may take up to three years to fully complete.

Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, and Cllr Lewis Herbert, leader of the city council, welcomed the news.

Daniel Zeichner MP said: ​ “This is great news for all those working for the university and for the city of Cambridge as a whole. Cambridge University is a key employer and it is a significant step forward in this high-cost city that they will now be guaranteeing all their staff, including contractors, the Real Living Wage.

Congratulations to the students, trade unions and staff that have supported this campaign and got us to this point. I think we can all be proud that with strong leadership from the City Council Cambridge has a growing list of employers becoming accredited Living Wage employers.

I hope it is not long until all colleges follow the example set by the university today and sign up to the Real Living Wage.”

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