Norwich insurer Aviva pledges to pay entire staff the living wage
17:36 30 April 2014
One of Norfolk’s biggest employers is to improve the wages of some of its lowest-paid staff by offering its entire workforce the living wage.
Aviva has pledged to hand its subcontractors – including cleaners and caterers – at least £7.65 per hour, putting them on the same minimum rate as its permanent staff.
According to community group Citizens UK, there are 10 accredited employers in Norfolk and Suffolk currently offering the living wage which claims to better reflect the cost of living compared to the national minimum wage of £6.31.
The announcement from the EDP Top100 company follows a report by the TUC claiming that most workers on zero hours contracts earned less than the living wage.
Figures published by the Office of National Statistics have revealed that 1.4 million jobs now involved contracts that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours.
Christine Deputy, group HR director at Aviva, which does not employ people on zero-hour contracts, said: “Paying the living wage is absolutely the right thing to do for our people, our business and the communities we are part of.
“We have paid the London living wage of £8.80 since 2006 when it first came into practice, in 2012 we paid UK living wage to all our permanent UK employees and now we’re extending this throughout the UK to include our subcontracted workforce.”
Jessica Asato, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Norwich North, is a member of a local steering group looking at ways to encourage more employers to pay the living wage.
She said that providing the living wage was a winning strategy for employers because it encouraged staff to be loyal to the company.
Meanwhile, Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, called for the Norwich to become a living wage city during a speech reacting to the chancellor’s Budget. But she said that more local data was needed if the campaign was to have impact.
“The living wage campaign needs to be based in good local data,” she said. “Norwich is not the same as London but nor is it the same as Newcastle nor Newport.
“The very idea of the living wage is that it is about paying people what they need to live on; that will vary from place to place. But without better localised data the campaign risks making an arbitrary demand.”
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