By Anna Tatham
Durham Students’ Union is now a Living Wage accredited Employer, meaning all permanent, student and contracted staff will now earn the real Living Wage.
The proposal was passed at the SU Finance Committee’s final board meeting in June this year.
The real Living Wage is an hourly rate calculated independently by the Living Wage Foundation, based on the cost of living in the UK, and is voluntarily paid by over 4,400 UK businesses, including ITV, Google, IKEA and Chelsea FC.
It currently stands at £8.75 per hour, as opposed to the National Living Wage set by the government, which is £7.83 per hour.
The DSU joins other students’ unions across the country as an accredited employer, including those at Manchester, Aberdeen and Cambridge Universities.
The Students’ Union Assembly passed policy in 2014 to support the SU and the University paying all staff a Living Wage.
Opportunities Officer Charlie Walker said he was “very happy” to report the news, after lobbying the issue since he was elected in 2017.
“I was passionate about Durham SU becoming a Living Wage employer because many of our Durham SU team are students – who can be time poor and cash poor – it is only right that they get paid fairly for their time” he stated.
“Many students have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet; by paying the correct wage we can combat this, allowing students more time to focus on their studies, without worrying about surviving financially.”
“As one of the biggest employers in Durham, we hope the University will follow suit and commit to accrediting with the Living Wage Foundation, in line with its aims of social responsibility.”
Durham University’s Chief Operating Officer, Jane Robinson, said: “Since April and following constructive negotiations with our trade unions the minimum hourly rate for all contracted staff has been £8.81 – higher than the current real Living Wage.
“Staff also enjoy significant benefits, including annual leave entitlement, access to the MyDurham benefits portal, and the opportunity to volunteer for up to five days per year in work time.”
Durham University is not yet accredited with the Living Wage Foundation.
Photograph: Durham Students’ Union