Referendum on implementation of the Living Wage

With an average price increase of less than 5% in the SU shops (Spar Portland, Spar Jubilee and Mooch), would you support paying the Living Wage (£8.45) to all 150-student staff working at the Students’ Union?

The motion has been proposed by Abel Hartman and seconded by Ed Marks.


Voting on whether Students' Union members agree or disagree with this motion will be open from 9am on Friday 9th June and close at 12 midday on Thursday 22nd June. The poll will be conducted online.  

The following voting options will be offered:

Yes/ No/ Abstain


Quorum for this referendum will be 852 votes.  

Returning Officer:

The Returning Officer for this referendum is Beth Massey, Students' Union Education Officer.  Please email to contact the Returning Officer.

Supporting statement FOR the motion

The Students’ Union should pay all of its staff the Living Wage (£8.45 currently) as calculated by the Living Wage Foundation. It is, after all, a charity and should be making sure its own staff are earning enough to live on. Here are 5 reasons why you should vote YES in this referendum.

To pay the living wage is an embodiment of the SU’s values of equality and inclusivity.

Currently the entry wage paid by SU shops is the National Minimum Wage, currently £5.60 for those 18-21, £7.05 for 21-25 and £7.50 for over 25s. The majority of Students fall into the former of those, earning under £6/hr. Why should younger employees be paid less than their older colleagues for the same job? And shouldn’t all of these staff be paid enough to live on?

Paying the Living Wage strengthens our position in negotiations with the University over the Living Wage.

Currently the University of Nottingham employs hundreds of staff under the Living Wage and countless teachers and researches on casual contracts. Paying the living wage ourselves gives us a much stronger hand in fighting to get those staff more stable and better paid contracts and ultimately improve our own student experience. After all a better paid cleaning and catering staff, and seminar tutors with reasonable time to prepare and mark our work can only benefit us.

It would provide student staff with a great deal more financial security.

With maintenance grants being scrapped and tuition fees rising, students need as much financial support as possible, and those needing it most will naturally be seeking employment with the SU. The very least the SU could do is pay those employees what they need to subsist.

It won’t draw any funding from Societies and Student Groups.

The SU have carried out a full funding report on paying the Living Wage to all staff and have concluded that in order to pay for it in full no funding needed to be taken away from Societies. Instead we may see cost of some items in SU shops increase minimally (<5%) in real terms, this means about 10p on a meal deal.

It’s the right thing to do.

With the cost to the average student minimal, it is simply morally right for a charity to be paying its staff enough to live on. Were we to ignore the benefit to the student body in the form of better pay and a stronger position to improve all university staff conditions, we’d still be left with a fairer Students’ Union paying its entire staff what it deserves.

So vote YES to the SU paying the living wage to all staff and let's pay maybe 10 pence more on a meal deal so our staff can get a fair Living Wage.

Supporting statement AGAINST the motion

No supporting statement was submitted against the motion.