By Adam White
On Thursday 26th March 2015 a motion to investigate the implementation of a living wage by the student union was passed at Student Assembly.
The motion; proposed by Adam White, UBS Bar Staff Supervisor, and seconded by Kirsty Capes; Media Association Chair, mandates the President and Vice President Community Welfare to investigate the implementation of a living wage within the student union, the possibility of unsociable hours pay, and to lobby the university to also implement a living wage thus making all student opportunities fair with respect to pay campus wide.
The Student Assembly is the main decision making body with the union, it is where the elected officers, chairs and representatives meet, create and oversee our guiding policies. It also holds our officers and chairs to account as well as having an involvement in union campaigns and development. All students are able to attend this event but only elected members of the student assembly are able to express a vote.
In the case of the living wage motion; Adam White spoke for the motion, with no one choosing to speak against it, but was unable to participate in the vote.
Currently student staff employed by the union work on three pay grades; AG1 (£6.51), AG2 (£6.63), AG3 (£7.56) and AG4 (£8.14) with roughly 70-80% of student staff being paid the AG1 rate and a small minority of supervisors on the AG3 and AG4 rates.
Meanwhile; currently, the London Living Wage is £9.15/hr. Compared to other student opportunities across campus this is one of the lowest rates of pay; and with the union limiting staff hours to only 20 per week it is tough for student staff to earn what they need to survive and afford to study.
Recent union endeavours this year such as the 'Lets Cook' scheme and the changes brought in by the referendum, involving the creation of a new full time and new part time officer position costing the union around £30,000 a year, would suggest that there is room in the budget for a living wage to be implemented.
Throughout the Spring Elections several of the candidates chose to express their support for the living wage, which was appreciated by student staff backing the motion.
Some of them have since begun working on the investigation into the motions implementation alongside the current President and VPCW. All those interested look forward to the much-anticipated results at the next Student Assembly or Union General Meeting.