Bolton theatre becomes 500th Greater Manchester employer to make fair pay commitment

  • Real Living Wage rate increases to £10.90, a 10.1% increase
  • Largest-ever increase gives pay boost to thousands of workers amid cost-of-living crisis
  • Bolton’s Octagon Theatre becomes 500th Living Wage Employer accredited in Greater Manchester

The largest-ever increase to the Real Living Wage will provide a boost to thousands of workers in Greater Manchester – as the city-region has reached a significant milestone in the campaign for fair pay.

The Living Wage Foundation has increased the Real Living Wage rate to £10.90 – an annual rise of 10.1%. The announcement on this year’s rate uplift was brought forward in recognition of the sharp increase in living costs.  

The announcement comes as the Octagon Theatre in Bolton has become the 500th employer based in Greater Manchester to be accredited as a Living Wage Employer by the Living Wage Foundation.

The 500 accredited companies and organisations employ over 120,000 people, including more than 18,000 who have had their pay uplifted to or above the real Living Wage level as a direct result of their employer’s commitment. Living Wage Employers report a range of benefits after making the commitment, including better staff attraction and retention, making it a sensible long-term investment.

An action group, led by the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and the Chair of Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GM LEP) Lou Cordwell, is driving forward Greater Manchester’s Living Wage City-Region campaign, which aims to ensure all employers in the city-region pay the living wage by 2030. The wider movement for improving employment practices is being led by Greater Manchester’s Good Employment Charter, a voluntary scheme that aims to raise standards across the city-region.

Cllr Bev Craig, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) Portfolio Lead for Economy, Business and International, said: “Today’s uplift to the Real Living Wage is good news for thousands of people in Greater Manchester and reflects the sharp increase to the true cost of living over the past year.

“With 500 Living Wage Employers now accredited, our city-region’s campaign for fair pay has made great strides – but we know there is plenty of work still to be done. As our residents face a cost-of-living crisis, our goal of securing the real Living Wage for every worker in Greater Manchester has never been more vital.”

Lou Cordwell, Chair of GM LEP, said: “The rise in the Real Living Wage rate is a welcome boost to thousands of employees across Greater Manchester during an increasingly difficult time. We also congratulate the Octagon Theatre on becoming a Living Wage Employer, joining the hundreds of businesses across Greater Manchester who have made a commitment to fair pay.

“Reaching the milestone of 500 Living Wage Employers is a fantastic achievement, particularly given the challenges of the pandemic and the increasing costs businesses face. It shows there is huge enthusiasm for improving working standards across our city-region, and that employers understand there is a compelling business case for paying the real Living Wage.”

Roddy Gauld, Chief Executive, Octagon Theatre, said: “The Octagon is proud to be a Living Wage Employer, and especially to be the 500th in Greater Manchester and the first theatre in the North West. Despite the very real economic pressures we face as a business and a charity, we knew this was the right business decision.

“We want the people we work with to be well, to be motivated and to stick with us – so paying a fair wage is just common sense, that can make a big difference to people. And as the cost-of-living crisis deepens, it’s even more urgent that employers do what they can to tackle in-work poverty and ensure that people who work hard for us, earn enough to live on.”

Katherine Chapman, Director, Living Wage Foundation, said: “With living costs rising so rapidly, millions are facing an awful “heat or eat” choice this winter – that’s why a Real Living Wage is more vital than ever. Today’s new rates will provide hundreds of thousands of workers and their families with greater security and stability during these incredibly difficult times.  

“We’re delighted to announce The Octagon as the 500th Living Wage Employer in Greater Manchester. With prices rising so rapidly, their decision to join a movement of nearly 11,000 employers nationwide who voluntarily commit to go further than the government minimum has never been more important. As inflation hits new highs, it’s heartening to see the Greater Manchester’s commitment to become a Living Wage City-Region gathering momentum to help lift people out of working poverty with a wage that can meet their everyday needs.”

Article Published: 22/09/2022 16:52 PM