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Progressives pledge to pay staff the living wage

    Liberal Judaism plans to be the first synagogue movement to adopt the living wage across all its congregations.

    The wage — a voluntary initiative launched 12 years ago by the grass-roots activist movement Citizens UK — this week rose to £7.65 an hour nationally and to £8.80 an hour in London.

    It is intended to indicate the lowest income needed to live on, and is set higher than the legal national minimum wage, which recently rose to £6.31 an hour for adults.

    Rabbi Danny Rich, chief executive of Liberal Judaism, said: “We are trying to make sure all our communities sign up to the living wage by our next biennial meeting in May. How could a Liberal synagogue committed to the social justice of our founders not do so?”

    The wage would apply not only to employees but also to contracts negotiated for cleaning services, he explained.

    Finchley Reform Synagogue announced this week that it was the first individual synagogue to be accredited as a living-wage employer.

    The shul’s Rabbi Miriam Berger joined London Mayor Boris Johnson, at a Citizens UK event on Monday to announce the increase in the wage.

    She said employers had a responsibility to take care of their employees, “so that they in turn can take care of their families”.

    She hoped other synagogues would to follow Finchley’s lead.

    The living wage is calculated nationally by Loughborough University’s Centre for Research in Social Policy and in London by the Greater London Authority’s living wage unit.

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