Peterborough City Councillors reject plan to give their lowest-paid workers £10 per hour wage rise

Cllr Ed Murphy
Cllr Ed Murphy

City councillors have rejected the idea of paying their lowest-paid workers a ‘living wage’ of £10 per hour

Cllr Ed Murphy, addressing the meeting of  Peterborough’s Full Council (16 October) said: “You call your workers ‘heroes’ for the work they do for this council, so pay them accordingly.”

His called on the council to support pay claims submitted by Unite, GMB and UNISON on behalf of council and school workers for a £10 per hour minimum wage.

However, in a supplementary clause he called for   a 10 per cent pay rise for all council staff in 2020/21.

It was this 10% uplift that most councillors found impossible to support, even though Cllr Murphy had proposed it be paid from central Government and not the city council.

He said: “If you pass this motion, we will be calling upon central Government to fund any pay award, and I think most people will agree that those workers who are currently struggling on the lowest incomes should have a ‘living wage’ of £10 per hour – these people are ‘heroes’, and I think they should be supported.”

However, Cllr Mohammed Farooq said “This councils’ strategy since 2011 has always been to protect the lowest paid of our workers, which is why we already have a minimum wage of £9 per hour.

“If we pass this motion it will cost the people of Peterborough or Central Government about £4.4m which will have an inevitable impact on other services we provide.

“That represents adult care home packages for 142 over-65s, or waste collection from every single household in the city, or road resurfacing of 7.25km or the equivalent of making 130 people at Peterborough City Council redundant to pay for this.

“It’s all well and good Cllr Murphy saying we should write to Central Government and they’ll send us the money, but imagine somebody sitting in Whitehall getting letters from one council asking for more money for community care, another asking for more money for adult social care, and then getting a letter from Peterborough City Council asking if we can pay our staff a 10% wage increase across-the-board.”