January 2019: News From The Mayor

December 22 2018

I want Bristol to become the first real Living Wage city

I was delighted that Bristol city council has recently been accredited as a Living Wage employer, joining more than 220 South West employers officially committed to paying the voluntary rate. This means every employee and contractor earns a decent living wage and we are now rolling it out to all our suppliers too.

The Living Wage is an independently-set hourly rate of pay for everyone over 18, calculated according to the basic costs of living, and is higher than the current minimum wage for those aged over 25 set by the Government. The Living Wage recently increased by 25p to £9 due to rising living costs.

I am proud to be championing the real Living Wage and I am pleased we can lead by example in promoting employee economic and social wellbeing. I hope that other large employers in the region follow suit and do the right thing. A living wage is part of developing an economy based on inclusive economic growth and ensuring everyone shares in Bristol’s success.

Now, working with unions and businesses in the city, we have started the conversation about making Bristol the first real Living Wage city. This could include a Bristol-specific living wage (probably somewhere between the national real Living Wage and the London weighting). I am writing to chief execs across Bristol to join us in this ambition. I want to make it the benchmark for the employers in our city, not the aspiration.

So because of this commitment, I am concerned about the Post Office’s proposals to close our only Crown Post Office in Bristol at the Galleries shopping centre and relocate into the nearby WH Smith.

This will leave Bristol with no flagship Post Office, having a significant impact on services we receive, and also a loss of decent jobs which will likely be replaced by minimum wage roles.

It is unacceptable not to have a major Post Office serving our citizens and economy when Bristol has the fastest growing population of any core city, with three quarters of a million people in the city region, and a strong economy which contributes £14.3 billion to the UK economy.

I spoke at the recent day of action organised by the Communications Workers Union (CWU) to campaign against this proposal and for decent jobs, and for the services Bristolians rely on. I encourage people to sign the online petition at saveourpostoffice.co.uk