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Cambridge, UK: Jesus College students vote to support a Living Wage
Jonny Barlow

February 7, 2012
View the Original Article

This Monday, the Jesus College Student Union followed Emmanuel, in passing a motion calling for all college employees to be paid at least the living wage.

Currently, this level is £7.20 nationwide, rising to £8.30 in London, and is often cited by advocates of the measure as the minimum level required to support a family of four.

The possibility of a Cambridge-specific living wage reflecting the local cost of living, along the lines of that currently calculated by Oxford City Council, was noted in the proposal.

This motion will affect only casual staff, not on a fixed contract, as the college was last week able to confirm to Varsity that no permanent staff were paid less than the living wage.

The campaign for the living wage is one with considerable national momentum, with advocates citing drops in absenteeism and increased productivity as benefits to employers of implementation. The campaign also got a boost when it became Labour party policy at the last general election.

Accordingly, the president of the Cambridge University Labour Club and Jesuan, Richard Johnson, having proposed the motion, tweeted that he was “Really proud that undergraduates at my college (Jesus) voted tonight to support a Living Wage for all college staff”.

He later told Varsity: “Tonight’s motion was an affirmation that students want to ensure that the staff who make our colleges such great places in which to live and study have a decent quality of life.

‘Students have more influence on the Living Wage than I think many of them realise.”

Moreover, the Living Wage Foundation is keen to stress the broad levels of support for the move from across the political spectrum, noting that the campaign has a “vocal champion” in Boris Johnson, and quoting David Cameron referring to the move as “an idea whose time has come”.