Many Oxford workers could be set for an inflation-beating pay rise to take the minimum rate per hour to at least £9.69 after a decision to increase the living wage in the city.
Around 100 campaigners attended a rally in Oxford Town Hall on Monday night to welcome the news and stress the importance of fair pay.
Following the announcement, Oxford City Council and some businesses will be signing up to the improved rate, which has risen from £9.26 per hour. The national wage requirement is £7.50 an hour.
Speaking after the meeting Holywell councillor Dan Iley-Williamson said: “It is pretty unique for a place outside London to have a rate like that so I am very pleased that it has been pushed through.”
The new Oxford living wage rate will apply to the city council catchment area from April 2018.
Employers are legally bound to pay workers over 25 years of age the national minimum wage, but employers in Oxford can now sign up to the new increased rate voluntarily.
The move is in response to escalating living expenses in the city.
The increase has been welcomed with many saying it will allow workers to ‘live with dignity’.
Councillor Susan Brown, deputy leader of Oxford City Council and board member for customer and corporate services, said: “[The wage increase] helps the council by improving staff motivation, customer service and by making it easier for us to retain quality staff. We encourage other employers in Oxford to adopt the Oxford living wage.”
The council also announced it will require all contractors with contracts over £100,000 to pay the Oxford living wage to their staff and subcontractors.
The living wage is updated countrywide every October by the Living Wage Foundation.
The foundation sets two rates, one for London and one for the rest of the country. The London minimum wage is now set at £10.20 per hour.