West Yorkshire Combined Authority, under the leadership of elected mayor Tracy Brabin, has been granted official recognition as a Living Wage Employer.

This significant move ensures that all employees within the Combined Authority will continue to receive a minimum of £12 per hour, aligning with the real living wage standards.

Furthermore, this commitment extends to future contracts with regularly outsourced workers, such as office cleaning staff and bus station security officers. These contracts will stipulate a minimum payment of the real living wage, currently set at £12 per hour, rather than the government minimum wage of £10.42.

The announcement, made jointly by the Combined Authority and the Living Wage Foundation on 22nd March, underscores a broader initiative advocating for employers nationwide to provide a decent wage reflective of the current cost of living.

According to the foundation, over 14% of jobs in Yorkshire and the Humber pay below the real living wage, leaving at least 314,000 workers struggling to cover basic necessities amidst the ongoing cost of living crisis.

The national Living Wage movement, active since 2011, has succeeded in securing pay rises for over 460,000 individuals, injecting £3 billion back into the pockets of low-paid workers during periods of austerity and financial instability.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said; “West Yorkshire is a region of grafters, and hard work should always be rewarded with fair pay and conditions.

“Paying at least the real living wage is the most sure-fire way for employers to boost their productivity, while ensuring their workers receive a wage they can actually live on.

“Here at the Combined Authority, we remain committed to paying the real living wage whilst supporting others to do the same, as we build a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire that works for all.”

Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said; “We’re delighted that the West Yorkshire Combined Authority has joined the movement of over 14,000 responsible employers across the UK who voluntarily commit to go further than the government minimum to make sure all their staff earn enough to live on.

“They join thousands of small businesses, as well as household names such as Burberry, Barclays, Everton Football Club and many more. These businesses recognise that paying the real Living Wage is the mark of a responsible employer and they, like the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, believe that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.

“We look forward to working with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to grow the Living Wage across the region.”

The Combined Authority’s dedication to fair employment practices extends beyond wage standards. It has also endorsed the West Yorkshire Fair Work Charter, initiated by Mayor Brabin and numerous local businesses in November. The charter, developed in collaboration with local employers, trade unions, and political leaders, aims to enhance working conditions and opportunities across the region.

By signing the Fair Work Charter, the Combined Authority joins over 70 other local businesses in pledging to improve pay and conditions for workers, setting a positive example for other employers in the region.

Karen Loughlin, Regional Secretary of UNISON Yorkshire and Humberside, said; “This is very encouraging. It’s a demonstration from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority that they are committed to making sure all staff are paid a wage that they can actually live on.

“It’ll be beneficial both for retaining existing experienced staff, as well as recruiting new workers.

“All staff should be paid a fair wage for the work they do in 2024. It’s a positive step to see West Yorkshire Combined Authority committing to that, and hopefully, it’ll encourage other employers in the region to follow suit and become accredited by the Living Wage Foundation.”