Report of Living Wage meeting in Bridport

Despite the pouring rain the first Living Wage Dorset launch event in Bridport got off to a flying start. Attendance: 20. Three good speakers (all women) who each gave a different angle on the issue.

Issues arising from the discussion:

1. Immigration was being used by unscrupulous employers to keep wages down, by paying immigrant workers lower rates of pay. The Living Wage would create a level playing field and help to end this exploitation
2. Some confusion about small firms having to pay the Living Wage and maybe having to cut jobs in order to do so. Clarified that the campaign was aimed at the 16% of very large employers in the county who employ 75% of low paid workers
3. Many low paid workers were frightened to make a stand for a Living Wage, and in fear of losing their jobs. That is why a community-wide campaign is important to support those workers who are unable/unwilling to lead the campaign
4. Some workers, particularly in care and retail are on zero hour contracts – and are more concerned about the lack of hours rather than the hourly rate
5. Wide acceptance that the broader the base of the campaign, the more likelihood of it being a success

Some practical points:

1. Could the Minimum Wage be raised to the level of the Living Wage – and thus become legally enforceable
2. It would be useful to have a list of Living Wage employers and perhaps give those companies a logo/sticker to display on websites/shop windows etc
3. Support for community action such as leafleting the public about the issue, picketing low wage employers etc
4. How is the Living Wage calculated and isn’t £7.45 an hour too low

Living Wage Dorset Resources:

Campaign statement

A toolkit for campaigners

Campaign briefing

Flyer / poster

Logo

living wage logo

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