Students of St Joseph’s Catholic and Anglican High School today marched through the town centre asking for equal pay for employees.
130 year eight students were seen marching from their school to the Council offices, asking for a living wage of £7.65 for all county employees. The students were seen marching through the town and to the Guildhall at 1:3opm to meet with Council, Neil Rogers, to ask for commitment on the Living Wage.
The other pupils took part in a photo opportunity, and interactive sessions outside on Llwyn Isaf, before marching back through the town and to St Joseph’s. Students were seen banging drums and carrying placards asking for equal pay.
During their meeting at the Guildhall, Council Leader Neil Rogers agreed to their request to calculate exactly how much paying the Living Wage would cost the council. Cllr Rogers has said he will provide this information to the pupils by September.
Year 8 pupil Keryn Hallam said “We’ve been learning about the Living Wage with TCC in school. Many of our parents are working in jobs which don’t pay enough, so it directly affects us young people. We want the adults in our family to earn enough to live on, and we don’t want to be stuck in low paying jobs when we leave school.”
Today’s march follows the strike action yesterday, which saw thousands of people across the country campaign for equal pay for members of the public sector.
The pupils, who are members of a TCC group at the school, have been working on this issue in the weeks leading up to this meeting, and this action is part of a new North Wales Living Wage campaign being launched by TCC (Trefnu Cymunedol Cymru / Together Creating Communities). Other TCC members have already been meeting with councillors across the county to gain their support for the new campaign.
TCC youth and community organiser Eleri Birkhead said: “We are really pleased that pupils from St. Joseph’s High School are leading this campaign, as the school recently committed to paying the Living Wage to all its employees.
“The issue is really important to the pupils as some are feeling the effects of low pay on their own family lives, and none of the young people want to become trapped in minimum wage jobs when they leave school.
“Currently 1,668 jobs at Wrexham Council aren’t paid a Living Wage, and 90% of these jobs are done by women. We know that the majority of children living in poverty have at least one parent who is working – this is an issue which is affecting families across North Wales. We don’t think it is right that hardworking people in Wales should have to live in poverty, or have to turn to foodbanks or handouts just to get by.
“We understand that the council has to make savings, but employers who pay the Living Wage find that employees work harder, take fewer sick days, and stay in their jobs for longer, which can offset the costs of paying more. Putting extra wages into the hands of local workers would also provide an enormous boost for the local economy – it would be good for everyone, but especially for the working families who could be lifted out of poverty.”