We’re calling on University of Leeds to become an accredited Living Wage Employer, like many other universities have already.
Leeds Citizens would like as many university staff and students to sign their open letter to the university, and to attend a rally outside the Ziff building at 12.30pm on Monday 5 November.
Full text of the open letter:
As this year’s Living Wage Week gets underway, celebrating employers across the UK who voluntarily pay at least the real Living Wage (£8.75/hr) to all their workers, we call on the University of Leeds to agree to join this growing movement.
The testimonies of staff at the University show that legal minimum wage rates are no longer enough to afford a decent standard of living in Leeds, keeping those receiving them in a low-pay trap and making them more vulnerable to the widespread effects of poverty. The real Living Wage is independently calculated every year based on what people and their families need to get by. This ensures workers and their families have what they need for a decent standard of living and to participate fully in society. Since 2011 over 4,500 employers, including over 30 universities, have signed up as Living Wage Employers and are accredited by the Living Wage Foundation.
We believe the University of Leeds should seek accreditation with the Living Wage Foundation to ensure that no workers (whether directly employed or subcontracted) are unable to provide for their families. Committing to becoming a Living Wage Employer would be a mark of respect and appreciation for the cleaners, caterers, security and other contracted staff behind the scenes who help keep the University running. It would also help the University to live up to our professed values of making a difference to society, building relationships, equality and inclusion.
There are well documented, tangible benefits to employers who pay the Living Wage. Research has shown they have healthier, happier and more productive staff while benefitting from lower staff turnover, reduced absenteeism and a boost to their reputation in the local community. These benefits are seen in various universities we would consider to be our peers such as Russell Group members like Queen Mary, University of London and Cardiff University and our local neighbours Leeds Trinity University and the University of Huddersfield.
The University of Leeds belongs in these ranks, demonstrating its commitment to keeping its workforce protected from in-work poverty through becoming a Living Wage Employer and cementing its status as an anchor institution for the city of Leeds, providing a vital link between education, business and civil society. We, as a wealthy institution, can afford to take this step to invest all of our staff. If we are to truly continue to be a world-class university, then we must ensure that nobody within our workforce is in poverty and cannot afford a decent standard of living in Britain today.
Today we are asking our Vice Chancellor, Sir Alan Langlands, to meet with the Living Wage Foundation within the next six weeks to develop an action plan for the University of Leeds to sign up as a Living Wage Employer. We look forward to hearing from him and are hopeful of working with the University Executive Group to make the Living Wage a reality at the University of Leeds.
You can add your name at citizensuk.org/leedsuni