Swansea Council wants to see a "Welsh Living Wage"
CALLS have been made for Swansea Council workers to receive the Living Wage for years to come.
The promise is set to come into orce in April and will see around 3,000 low-paid employees receive a salary increase.
Currently, the Living Wage is £7.45 an hour, resulting in the lowest starting salary at the local authority being £14,333. The minimum wage, set by the UK Government, is £6.19.
Swansea Council's opposition memb- ers have called for the authority to continue matching the Living Wage in the future.
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The call foll- owed a question put to the council's cabinet member for citizen, community engagement and democracy, Christine Richards, by several opposition councillors.
In a written response she said: "it would be imprudent to tie the council into future increases of the Living Wage and therefore this will be reviewed annually in November when the Living Wage is set by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation".
Rob Stewart, cabinet member for finance, who said it was "a bit rich coming from the opposition that did nothing on the issue when they were in power'', added: "We will look to see how we can maintain a Living Wage mechanism for Wales, eventually establishing a Welsh Living Wage, not as a one-year supplement.
"What we do in future years will need to be affordable.
''We intend to tackle poverty and we are looking at a mechanism to continue it," he told a full meeting of Swansea Council.
The opposition councillors, Peter Black, Chris Holley, Mary Jones, Paul Meara and John Newbury, also questioned how the proposal to introduce a Living Wage would affect tax and benefits.
In her response Mrs Richards said: "Of course an increase in pay can have an impact on eligibility for benefits and tax credits, but maybe not such as detrimental impact as the current welfare reforms being introduced by the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition.
"In the UK 5 million people, including 3 million women, are paid below the Living Wage and one in eight household contain at least one adult earning below that level. Introducing a Living Wage can really 'make work pay.
"As one of the largest employers in Swansea, this Labour administration feels a moral obligation to its employees an is doing its best to find a practical way to help working families.
"There is a also a hope that this can boost our struggling economy by giving people more money in their pockets to spend on goods and services."
The council said it hoped to implement the wage in April this, but it could be delayed due to ongoing negotiations over its single pay structure.