SDLP Councillor Malachy Quinn has called for the new Mid-Ulster Super Council to adopt the living wage instead of the minimum wage for all Council employees when it comes into power next March.
Speaking on the issue Mr Quinn said “Many households across the North, including a high proportion of those in work, are currently experiencing poverty and the cost of living continues to rise.
“More than 80 per cent of employees aged 18 to 21 earn less than the living wage. Recent research reveals our lowest earners have lost 38 per cent of their disposable net income in recent years, and with £4bn due to be taken from welfare by 2015, it is highly likely that the figure of 22 per cent of households living in poverty will increase further.
He continued “The Mid-Ulster Super Council will become one of the biggest employers within the Mid-Ulster area and it has a chance to lead the way on helping those families who are living in poverty. All parties talk about opposing this cut or that cut, they talk about standing up for those in poverty but very few are introducing measures to do something about it. I intend to introduce a motion this month to get the living wage adopted as policy by Mid-Ulster Council so that we can help those in society who are struggling to meet the cost of living. I want to show people that I and the SDLP are prepared to do more than pay lip service to helping those in need, to actually put down policy that affects people directly, because that’s what we are elected to do.
“I will be speaking to all other parties on the Mid-Ulster Council and I hope they will back my motion. The SDLP has a proud tradition in backing the living wage and introduced the motion that made Belfast City Council the first living wage council in Ireland. I hope that Mid-Ulster and their suppliers will follow Belfast’s example and begin to tackle the issues affecting the working poor in a meaningful and tangible way.”