East Belfast launches campaign to become living wage place

east belfast

Regeneration charity the EastSide Partnership has launched a campaign to encourage employers in East Belfast to commit to paying the real living wage, to help the area to become an accredited living wage place.

EastSide Partnership has launched the campaign as part of its Scaffolding Project, which aims to raise awareness and alleviate the impact of poverty in inner East Belfast. The project comprises 10 community organisations, which work together to support those impacted by poverty.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the real living wage among local employers, increase the number of people receiving it, and start the process of making the area a living wage place, accredited by the Living Wage Foundation.

In April 2022, the government’s living wage was set at £9.50 for employees aged over 23. The voluntary real living wage has been calculated by the Living Wage Foundation to take into account factors such as the rising cost of living, inflation, and the real financial challenges faced by employees. This has been set at £9.90 per hour, and £11.05 per hour in London.

Michele Bryans, chief executive of EastSide Partnership, said: “A significant number of employers in east Belfast have already signed up as living wage employers, including EastSide Partnership.

“The research shows that the living wage not only puts more money in people’s pockets, it makes good business sense as it improves productivity and staff retention cutting down on recruitment costs. This is a much-needed approach to reduce poverty in the midst of this cost-of-living crisis. We are grateful to Urban Villages NI for funding us to deliver the first living wage campaign in Northern Ireland for many years. We hope all those employers which can afford to pay the real living wage will join us.”

Graham Griffiths, assistant director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “The Living Wage Foundation is delighted to see a Living Wage campaign emerge organically from the community in east Belfast. The number of employers accrediting as Living Wage employers has been growing in Northern Ireland putting more money into people’s pockets at a time of record inflation. We look forward to working with the Scaffolding Project and supporting them with their campaign.”