Catholic Church calls for living wage


The Catholic Church is calling upon employers to pay their staff a living wage.

The call from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales coincides with Living Wage Week.

The Church says just wages are an important way of supporting workers' families.

The call is being supported by the Catholic Education Service, the Caritas Social Action Network and Catholic development agency CAFOD.

The agencies and the Bishops' Conference are all accredited living wage employers.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference and the Catholic Education Service have produced a living wage resource encouraging Catholic organisations, schools and charities in England and Wales to implement just wages.

Quoting the resolution which the Bishops' Conference passed in 2012, Mgr Marcus Stock, General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, said: "The Bishops' Conference fully endorses the principle of the living wage and invites Catholic organisations and charities in England and Wales to work towards its implementation."

Paul Barber, Director of the Catholic Education Service, said: "We welcome the Bishops' invitation to support the living wage. The importance of a 'just wage' can be found in Catholic Social Teaching, spanning over 100 years.

"Schools and colleges play a central role in our Catholic communities and we recognise that, though schools often face financial pressure, this is one way in which we can live out our faith in service to the common good."

Helen O'Brien, Chief Executive of CSAN, the domestic social action agency of the Catholic Church, added: "Many Catholic Charities are increasingly witnessing more families living in 'in-work poverty' and struggling to afford the very basic costs of living such as food, utilities and rent payments. We recognise the importance of just wages as well as fair terms and conditions of employment.

"CSAN is committed to the principle of a living wage, which not only enables individuals to provide materially for their families but also allows them to spend quality time with their children".

Chris Bain, Director of CAFOD, commented: "Scripture makes many references to the importance of paying a right and just wage for work done.

"Although we were already paying the living wage for our staff before the joining the campaign, our facilities manager was also able to secure a living wage for the contract staff who deliver some of the services for CAFOD through third parties.

"We also feel that it was important to become a living wage employer as an expression of our solidarity with the principles of a paying a living wage and with those individuals and organisations striving to achieve fair pay."

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