School caterers and cleaners employed by community interest organisation Edsential for Cheshire West and Wirral councils have received a pay increase, ensuring that all staff are paid at least £9 an hour.
The pay rise, effective from 1 July 2019, was negotiated with trade union Unison as part of its campaign to see all its members paid at least the voluntary living wage rate; this is currently set at £9 an hour for staff in the UK, or £10.55 an hour for those working in London.
Edsential employees working at Wirral Council were already receiving the pay rise to £9 an hour prior to the conclusion of negotiations because of agreed top-up payments.
In addition to securing a rise in wages for the those on the lowest incomes, the agreement provides school support staff in pay bands one to five with an increase in pay of between 2% and 7.4%. The average raise for these employees is 5%.
Around 508 staff will benefit from the pay rises.
Edsential is owned by Cheshire West and Wirral councils and provides support services for the education sector across these two locations.
Teresa Connally, branch secretary at Unison, said: “West Cheshire Unison [is] delighted that Edsential [has] agreed to the pay rise and the positive result is testament to the hard work of our branch in negotiating this agreement.
“We have applied pressure over the years to ensure that all staff were paid the living wage and now that persistence has been rewarded.”
Edsential was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.