Living Wage scheme adopted

Living wage logoAvon Fire & Rescue Service has become a Living Wage employer to help lower-paid staff in these financially-challenging times.

The principle behind Living Wage is that people are paid an hourly rate which is enough to ensure they and their families can live free from poverty.

The national scheme has already been adopted by hundreds of public and private sector organisations.

Existing Living Wage employers have reported improved morale, lower staff turnover, reduced absenteeism, increase productivity and improved customer service as a result of adopting the scheme.

Avon Fire Authority members have also approved a one-off non-pensionable payment of £250 pro rata for support staff earning less than £21,000 per annum.

The Living Wage scheme applies to support staff including people who work for the service on a regular basis for a sub-contractor, such as cleaners and security staff.

Avon Fire Authority Chairman Cllr Terry Walker said: “We realise that many families are struggling to make ends meet in these difficult financial times.

“While we are having to make significant savings as an organisation, this gesture will no doubt go some way to making a difference to those on lower incomes.

“This only represents a small percentage of support staff at Avon Fire & Rescue Service, so the benefits will far outweigh the financial costs.”

The out of London National Living Wage is £7.20 per hour.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service employs nine people whose hourly rate is below the Living Wage level.

Chief Fire Officer Kevin Pearson said: “The financial implication to the organisation of these packages is fairly modest.

“We rely on members of staff, who carry out a wide range of jobs, to ensure we are able to provide vital services to the public.

“The Fire Authority has taken a moral stance by rewarding staff with a salary that represents a living wage in today’s world.

“I hope the commitment AFA has made demonstrates how much each member of staff is valued, regardless of their role, and ensures our staff earn a truly living wage each month.”