Council to find out how many workers paid less than living wage
A CAMPAIGN to lift the pay of Torbay's poorest workers is gathering pace.
Torbay Council is to establish how many of its workers are currently paid less than the living wage of £7.20 per hour.
Campaigners have claimed some 125 staff are paid less.
Labour councillor Darren Cowell and independent Vic Ellery called on the council to explore the viability and benefits of Torbay Council becoming a living wage employer.
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Cllr Cowell told the full council it would help lift people out of poverty.
He said: "Torbay is a low wage economy and it has got worse though many people work in the public sector.
"We need to encourage our partner organisations and fellow agencies to adopt the living wage."
Cllr Ellery said it would send a clear signal that Torbay Council wants to move thousands of employees in the Bay on to a living wage. "£7.20 is a start, it's not the end," he said.
Mayor Gordon Oliver said he had always supported of the minimum wage.
"We need to look at the number employed in the council at this level, though it is only small," he said.
He also warned increasing wage rates could hit some small businesses.
"We are here to protect jobs," he said. "At this very sensitive time, we have to be careful we don't make the situation worse."
He said he would refer the issue to the policy development group.
Paul Raybould, president of Torbay Trades' Union Council who attended a rally at Oldway Mansion before the meeting, said afterwards: "It was refreshing to see our elected mayor take the issue seriously.
"We hope the policy committee endorses the living wage for Torbay."
The campaign is already supported by both Bay MPs, Unison, GMB and the Green Party.