Hundreds of staff working for The University of Cambridge are set to receive a boost to their pay packets after the university signed up to the living wage, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Thursday 8 February).

The union hailed the move as Cambridge is one of the most expensive cities in the UK in which to live.

Enshrining the payment of the living wage, currently £8.75 an hour outside London, is understood to start in the summer and will cover all staff, including contractors who will have to offer the living wage by 2020.

The Living Wage Foundation recommends the rate (£10.20 in London) which is voluntary and not to be confused with the lower paying national living wage which is compulsory.

Unite regional coordinating officer Ian Maidlow said: “This is a very welcome pay boost for hundreds of hard working people in a region with a very high cost of living.

“This cost of living in and around Cambridge is largely driven by the very presence of the university and its world-class status as an institute of learning, teaching and research.

“The university has belatedly recognised that its workforce is not solely made up of high-earning academics, and that technical and support staff play an essential role in the smooth running of the university.

“The fact that there is now a commitment to pay the living wage to those lower-paid people whose hard work enables the university to maintain its global reputation for excellence is good news, but it should not stop there.

“This must be a milestone on the journey towards paying everybody a real living wage wherever they work and live.

“All the recognised unions – including the students’ union – should be congratulated for their work in achieving this, as should the Labour-controlled city council and Cambridge’s MP Daniel Zeichner who have strongly supported the campaign.”

Unite senior rep at the university Will Smith said: “We welcome this as a sign the university recognises that lower waged staff are struggling with the cost of living in Cambridge.”
Unite has about 500 members at the university in mainly technical, laboratory, estates and maintenance roles.


Notes to editors:

Last year, the Lloyds Bank annual Affordable Cities Review ranked Cambridge as the fourth least affordable city in the UK when its came to house prices as a multiple of earnings.

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065


Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web:

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.