Church statement on living wage

The Church of England Daily Digest for 23 February carried the following item:

“Reports that some cathedrals are advertising jobs at below the living wage – despite the Church of England calling on employers to`pay at least that amount. They state the living wage is currently £7.85 an hour outside London, but the Sun newspaper reports a cathedral job advertised at £6.50 an hour in Litchfield and £6.70 at Canterbury. Reports also point out that each parish, diocese and cathedral is a separate institution and central church is committed to paying all the Living Wage by 2017 with vast majority already paid at that level,”

with links to the BBC, Sun,(£), Daily Mail, and The Times, (£).

This afternoon, the Church released the following statement:

Statement on Living Wage

23 February 2015

“The Pastoral letter from the House of Bishops was addressed to churches and encouraged them to implement the living wage. The Living Wage Commission, chaired by the Archbishop of York, recognised in its report last year, that a phased implementation may be necessary in some businesses and organisations. It welcomed employers seeking to implement the pay level progressively. What is important is that those who can, do so, as soon as is practically possible.  The vast majority of those employed by or sub-contracted to the Church’s central institutions are already paid at least the Living Wage and all will be by April 2017.

Each of our 12,000 parishes, dioceses and cathedrals is a separate legal entity with trustees and has to act in the light of its own circumstances. As charities churches require time to increase giving levels prior to ensuring delivery of the living wage. We are grateful to the Sun and others for highlighting the sound principles behind the living wage and for enabling us to reiterate our own commitment and hope for it to be paid to all people in work.”

This was echoed by Archbishop Justin Welby, responding to a question during a visit to the Diocese of Birmingham this morning; he said:

“It would be great if we were paying the Living Wage everywhere right away. But as the Archbishop of York said in his Living Wage Commission, we’ve got to move towards it. . .

“Every cathedral, every diocese, every parish in this country is an independent charity, with its own trustees that has to make its own decisions. We all recognise that no employer can simply increase its salaries overnight. . . We’d prefer to be there and we’re getting there as quickly as we can. We have to do it in a way that is responsible to all employees.”

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