Friday, 12 August 2016

Crescent Road emergency closure

Crescent Road will be closed tomorrow (Saturday) so a void underneath the road can be investigated and repaired. See below for more information from the council.

"A void has been discovered under the carriageway in Crescent Road near the junction with Wokingham Road. A metal plate has been placed over the defect to make it safe. In order for the repair to be completed the road will have to be closed. A Temporary Traffic Regulation Order has been sent to the emergency services effective from today. The Council will be closing the road from tomorrow morning when an investigation will be carried out. Our expectation is that the work will be completed early next week and the road re-opened as soon as it is safe to do so."

We will do what we can to make sure the road is reopened as soon as it is safe to do so.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Progress on a Real Living Wage for Reading school cooks

Following Green councillors getting Reading Council to sign up to paying a Living Wage we have been continuing to keep up the pressure on this issue. As well as people who work directly for the council the policy also applies to people working on contracts with the council. The school meals contract is one of the larger contracts and following our continued lobbying on this issue the council has committed to doing the groundwork necessary to move us towards getting a Living Wage for all cooks.

We will keep working for a fairer, more caring town.

Briefing below:

The Council is an accredited living wage employer by the Living Wage Foundation (LWF) and seeks to ensure that all Council staff are paid a living wage currently set at £8.25 per hour as opposed to the lesser National Living Wage currently set at £7.20 per hour.

In April, Chartwells increased all of their employee’s wages to match this National Living Wage. They also increased the rate of pay for other members of staff to match the increment as before. So now the average rate of pay of cooks is £8.53 per hour and Assistant Cooks is £7.30 per hour.
The current school meals contract with Chartwells was originally entered into in 2012, prior to the council agreeing to being accredited as a living wage employer, currently operating on the basis of the National Living wage as a minimum payment to staff. This does not impact on the council’s accreditation with the LWF as the employees are not directly employed by the Council but by Chartwells.

The Chartwells contract is to be extended by 2 years in September 2016, and there is an option to extend for a further 2 years in 2018, subject to the continued support of schools buying in. During the next several months the school meals team will be engaging with Chartwells to explore the implications of a potential alignment of pay with the LWF rate. Chartwells have previously indicated their willingness to engage in discussion. The most obvious concern for schools and parents would be the impact of wage inflation on the cost of a meal currently being held by Chartwells at £2.10 for the duration of the extension period.

Following these exploratory discussions officers will report back on options and implications.