Low paid council employees in Gravesham are to receive the living wage rather than the minimum wage.

The council has reached an agreement with the Unison trades union to enhance 25 permanent positions’ pay packets to ensure their wages rise to at least the £7.45 per hour living wage. The deal will be backdated to 1 April this year.

Council leader Cllr John Burden said: “I am delighted to announce that we have been able to raise minimum wages to the living wage. As Gravesham’s biggest single employer we want to send a signal to companies across the borough that the living wage should be the target for employees not the statutory minimum.

“I would like to see firms adopt the same approach and follow our example. Even though these are small amounts, they make a significant difference to those at the bottom of pay scales.”

Unison Regional Organiser for the South East Zoe Van Dyke said: “Unison is pleased that Gravesham Borough Council takes seriously the need to pay workers a living wage and is pleased to recognise that, in its wish to be a good employer, it has become one of the first local authorities in Kent to commit to the living wage.”