Milton Keynes Council has today agreed to pay its apprentices the Living wage as recommended by the independent Living Wage Foundation.
Today (9 October 2017) at the Joint Negotiating Committee, that brings unions and the Council as an employer together, agreed that apprentices who were being paid £3.50 per hour will now be paid £8.45 per hour.
Labour led Milton Keynes Council believes that it is both fair and right to pay apprentices the proper Living wage. The meeting heard a case study from the Council of a member of staff trying to meet her housing and living needs, but was struggling on the existing hourly rate of £3.50:
“I have a 19 year old apprentice we have just taken on who is living independently and cannot cope on the salary, as she is not entitled to any benefits. Would the committee revisit the 19 year old in the first year payments with a view to raising it to the minimum wage? It seems rather ironic that as a business we are about education, reaching potential, getting into employment, supporting vulnerable young people etc, but then put barriers in place so that it doesn’t actually happen. She would be better off working in Lidl but she wants to improve her maths, English and gain some qualifications as she has not had an easy life to date. I fear that continuing with us will result in her becoming in debt and then homeless.“
Cllr Rob Middleton, Cabinet member for Resources said, “Times are hard at Milton Keynes Council but it is right to pay apprentices properly. It is also good economics. They are the future workforce that will provide public services across our new city. We are investing in the future.“
He added, “It cannot be right that a young worker is struggling to pay their rent, and may be getting into debt. I am pleased that we have agreed a new approach and a new hourly rate with the trade unions. Labour is committed to fair pay for all staff.“