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No "legal barriers" to Living Wage say Labour

No “legal barriers” in the way of Bristol City Council becoming a Living Wage Accredited Employer – say Labour 
Bristol’s Mayor is to be challenged on his suggestion that there are legal barriers to getting full accreditation for the Council as a Living Wage Employer.
At the last council meeting in November – in a reply to questions the mayor said – “we need to be certain that the law permits us to impose contractual restrictions on our contractors in respect of staff pay”.
At a visit to the council from the Living Wage Foundation this week it was made clear that no local authority had ever faced a legal challenge as a result of requiring its contractors to pay the living wage.
Cllr Mike Wollacott, who is chair of the Human Resources Committee, is to ask the Mayor at the members’ forum on Tuesday if he accepts that there is no legal barrier – and if he doesn’t take that view – could he detail the precise legislation that would prevent the Council requiring its contractors to pay the Living Wage.
“It’s been a real struggle just to get the council to pay the living wage to all it’s staff even though everyone agreed it was the right thing to do. Now extending that principle to those employers who seek contracts from the council is looking like an uphill struggle.
“The idea was for the Council to give a lead to employers in this city that they ought to be paying the Living Wage. Paying people staff more means that the staff spend more and most of that spend is done in the local area giving a real boost to the city economy. Some employers say they cannot afford it but this is really short-sighted and low pay will keep us in recession for longer,” says Mike Wollacott.
“After the imagined legal difficulties have been swept aside I’m hoping that the Mayor won’t find other barriers that would prevent him insisting that council contractors pay the Living Wage. I’m hoping that this is not too optimistic,” he said.
Cllr Mike Wollacott - 07827 321377
or Labour councillors’ office - 0117 922 2013 or 07957 474865
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