Leeds City Council has committed to tackling inequalities in employment across the city through working with organisations to become a Real Living Wage city.
Leeds has a strong economy, experiencing the fastest private sector jobs growth and the highest increase in employment rate of any Core City, and yet this picture does not reflect the significant variation of quality of work people are in across the city.
It is estimated that just under 10% of all Leeds working residents earned less than the government’s Real Living Wage in 2017 with in-work poverty continuing to rise. The fact a job, or any job is no longer a guaranteed route out of poverty in the modern economy means that now more than ever there is a need for a strong call to action to employers in the city to look at and provide better and fairer employment. This aligns with the TUC’s Great Jobs campaign which has been running since 2018 and looks at the ambition for everyone to have a great job with fair pay, regular hours and the opportunity to progress.
As part of the council’s commitment to the agenda, it has already heavily invested in bringing all directly employed staff up to or above the Real Living Wage and has now started the process to become fully accredited with the Real Living Wage Foundation and ensure the payment runs right through supply chains to ensure the best conditions where possible for all avenues of its work. There has also been large amounts of work around procurement and business grants with our partnerships with both the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the LEP.
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council executive board member for learning, skills and employment said: “There is a vital and evident need to tackle the growing inequality in employment across the city.
“This is not a specific issue to Leeds, but something we are deeply committed to addressing and are already leading the way through using our place based partnership approach through our network of Leeds Inclusive Anchors to work together to maximise the local benefits from spending, services and recruitment and spreading this learning far and wide across the city and deep into our communities.
“As a council we have already spent over £13million on investing in our staff and paying the Real Living Wage and this commitment is set to continue and widen as we explore further ways to embed these payments into our supply chains as well.
“As a city there is a lot of great work already ongoing in this area, with a number of employers already paying the Real Living Wage, but we are well aware that more needs to be done and we will continue to push this agenda forward.”
A report will be taken to Leeds City Council’s executive board next week (Wednesday 18 March) where it will be recommended that the council continue to support the TUC’s Great Jobs Agenda, and endorse the approach to secure Living Wage accreditation both as a city and as an organisation.