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Staff living it up at Wessex Group

Dorset’s Wessex Group is now a Living Wage employer meaning its entire staff will earn the new rate.

The group, based in Shaftesbury, employs about 400 people was quick to embrace the Living Wage Foundation’s campaign.

While the vast majority of its staff already earn in excess of the £7.85 an hour income – soon to increase to £8.25 - its cleaners, third-party contractors and suppliers will also be guaranteed the hourly fee.

With the minimum wage at £6.70 the living wage is significantly higher and will be updated annually. The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living using the ‘Minimum Income Standard’ for the UK.

Decisions about what to include in this standard are set by the public; it is a social consensus about what people need to make ends meet. Employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis. The Living Wage enjoys cross party support, with public backing from the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.

Living Wage Foundation Director, Rhys Moore, said: “We are delighted to welcome the Wessex Group to the Living Wage movement as an accredited employer.

“The best employers are voluntarily signing up to pay the Living Wage now. The Living Wage is a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.

“We have accredited over 1,800 leading employers, including Wessex Group, ranging from independent printers, hairdressers and breweries, to well-known companies such as Nationwide and Aviva"

“These businesses recognise that clinging to the national minimum wage is not good for business. Customers expect better than that.”

Simon Morgan, director of the family-owned group, said: “Our ethos is based on treating all our staff well and offering good pay and conditions.

“We were quick to embrace the living wage and are pleased to be accredited by the Living Wage Foundation. Although it will really affect only a few junior administrators and our cleaners who we employ directly and work a couple of hours each day, there will be third-party workers who will also benefit.”

Pictured: Simon Morgan with the Wessex cleaning team (l-r) Cicely Kerswell, Lisa Platt, Laura Reddell and Jane Reed.