The Labour Group on Portsmouth City Council is proud to work closely with trade unions and council staff to ensure the interests of working people are always at the top of the agenda. Putting our principles into action has led to real wins for local workers, including most recently for dozens of young people taken on as part of the government’s Kickstart Scheme.
This government scheme provides funding for employers to take on young people who are out of work and claiming Universal Credit. However, the government funding only covers pay rates at the minimum wage for that age group, so a 20 year old could be paid just £6.56 per hour.
When this topic came up for discussion at a Cabinet meeting last November, the Labour Group challenged the council’s plan to only pay the minimum wage to young people on the scheme. Councillor Cal Corkery made the case for them to be paid at least the current Living Wage Foundation rate of £9.50 an hour.
The Cabinet agreed to Labour’s proposal which was then ratified at Employment Committee. As a result, the 81 low income young people set to be taken on as part of the scheme will now benefit by up to £1,911 each, making the difference between barely getting by on the minimum wage to receiving a proper living wage.
Councillor Cal Corkery, Labour representative on the Employment Committee, said:
“We know local workers want to receive a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work. Too many people are struggling to make ends meet on minimum wage and zero hours contracts. Our role is to stand side by side with those workers, and their unions, in the fight for fair pay and dignity at work. Winning a living wage for young people on the Kickstart Scheme is an important victory on that path, but we know there’ll be many more battles ahead.”