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Church of England schools to pay living wage to all staff

The Church of England has agreed to a deal that will see its schools pay all employees a living wage.

The National Society, which promotes and resources the schools on behalf of the church, reached a deal with trade union Unison that will see C of E schools receive living wage accreditation

Nearly all of the 4,700 C of E schools are already committed to paying the living wage for teachers, but the new agreement guarantees that all support staff will also receive it, as the schools become living wage employers.

The schools will be given a step-by-step implementation plan, covering both directly employed and contracted staff.

The living wage is currently set at £7.65 an hour (£8.80 in London), compared to the current minimum wage of £6.31 an hour.

The agreement follows a motion that was passed by the Church of England General Synod, which recognised that “the widening gap between rich and poor harms all of society and that paying a living wage lifts people out of poverty”.

It agreed to strongly encourage all Church of England institutions to pay at least the living wage, as recommended by Church Action on Poverty.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “I'm delighted that Unison is working so closely with the National Society to encourage Church of England schools to pay the living wage.

"Times are tough and low-paid workers are struggling under the burden of rising prices for basics like food and fuel.

"Schools and heads are under a lot of pressure and that is why Unison wants to make it easier for them to win living wage accreditation, by producing a step-by-step guide.

"Having that accreditation sends out a strong message that this school is one that takes its responsibilities to its staff and the wider community seriously."

The Archbishop of York and chair of the Living Wage Commission, Dr John Sentamu, said: "Church of England schools were set up more than 200 years ago to serve the poor and marginalised and they have always been committed to treating staff and pupils fairly.

"This new agreement with Unison will reward schools with living wage accreditation for their commitment to treating staff fairly. It is an excellent initiative."

(Image: c. Nigel Roddis/PA Wire)

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