Executive to introduce Living Wage policy for government tenders

L-R: Graham Griffiths from the Living Wage Foundation; Finance Minister, Conor Murphy; and Jayne Brady, head of the Civil Service. Picture by Kelvin Boyes.

ANY company delivering government services in the north will have to pay their staff at least £9.90 per hour from June 2022.

It comes after the Executive secured accreditation as a Living Wage employer.

The voluntary rate, set by The Living Wage Foundation, is higher than the statutory National Living Wage of £8.91 an hour for adults (over the age of 23), which will rise to £9.50 in April.

The foundation’s latest report said at 21.3 per cent, Northern Ireland had the highest rate in the UK of workers being paid below the Living Wage.

On Monday, the organisation announced the Real Living Wage is set to increase by 40p to an hourly rate of £9.90.

It’s understood that around 40 employers in the north are currently accredited by The Living Wage Foundation.

On Tuesday, Finance Minister Conor Murphy confirmed the Executive is now one of them.

The Department of Finance said around 340 servants are in line for a pay rise as a result.

But perhaps more significantly, Mr Murphy confirmed anyone tendering for government contracts in the north, will also have to pay the rate.

“Each year government spends around £3 billion buying goods, services, and construction work from the private sector,” said the Sinn Féin minister.

“It’s important this spending power is used for the good of society. Therefore, from June next year any company delivering services for government will have to pay staff working on that contract the Living Wage.

“This is transformative and will benefit thousands of workers in the private sector,” he added.

Mr Murphy said the arrangement will also apply to new contracts for people who work in civil service building, including security, catering, and cleaning staff.

Graham Griffiths, assistant director at the Living Wage Foundation, said: “In the midst of such turbulent times, it’s great to see the Executive leading the way in responsible pay, setting a great example to follow for all here.

“Through their accreditation, the Northern Ireland Executive has recognised that paying the real Living Wage is the mark of a responsible employer, and that everyone needs a wage that meets their everyday needs."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access