The Living Wage Campaign initiative locally led by Torbay Trades Council has gathered widespread support including from Labour, Greens, Liberal Democrats, both Bay MPs and some Conservatives. Will one of those Conservatives include mayor Oliver and his ruling Conservative group on Torbay Council?
At a council meeting Cllr Darren Cowell (Labour) called for Torbay Council to support the campaign. He said: “I was delighted to have moved the motion calling for Torbay council to support the Living Wage campaign.
“In an area like ours, lifting people out of low wages and poverty is even more important. I am pleased that the mayor agreed to refer the motion to a policy group, where I will continue to argue about the benefits. It was also encouraging that the mayor agreed to oppose regional pay which would have a devastating effect on Torbay’s economy.”
Cllr Steve Darling (Liberal Democrat leader) declared: ”It is a pity that the Tories failed to back this initiative immediately. The Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council will continue to back this worthwhile campaign.”
Sam Moss (Greens) said what was wanted was ‘a living wage now’ in keeping with his party’s national policy position.
Barrie Wood (Secretary Torbay TUC) noted: “While mayor Oliver agreed to the matter being examined further by a policy development committee the comments attributed to him on this matter seem somewhat equivocal.
“In his deliberations he might like to follow the view of fellow Tory, Sarah Wollaston MP for Totnes, who says ‘I certainly believe that employers do benefit from paying their employees a fair wage, as it fosters a loyal and motivated workforce and boosts the economy by helping some of the lowest paid’.
“She also points out that over 100 employers have signed up to the Living Wage campaign in London.”
The council should give a lead in Torbay and follow examples such as Brighton and Hove (Green controlled), Birmingham (Labour) and Greater London Authority (Tory mayor). They see that justice at work has economic benefits. With a broad consensus in favour locally will the Torbay Tories add their support too?