Archbishop of York defends churches paying below Living Wage

The Archbishop of York, who chaired the Living Wage Commission, has defended parish churches paying below the minimum hourly rate.

Speaking during a visit to the North-East, Dr John Sentamu said churches that could afford to pay the Living Wage, currently £7.85 an hour outside London, should do so, but rejected suggestions it should be made mandatory.

The Church of England was criticised recently for advertising jobs at sub-Living Wage levels, a number of bishops having just backed the campaign. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said the revelation was “embarrassing”.

Speaking  in Durham yesterday , Dr Sentamu said:

“Where people are capable of paying the Living Wage, they should do it.

“In my diocese, we do. In my office, we do. Many other church groups do. I believe the FT 100 index ought to be.

“But there are some small businesses where if that became mandatory, they may go under.”

Whenit was suggested the Anglican Church was neither small nor new, the Archbishop said:

“Every Parochial Church Council is a charity in its own right. Every cathedral is a charity in its own right. People talk about the church as if it’s one huge organisation. No, every church has its own governance.

 “My plea to every church is: please, examine yourself carefully. If you can pay the Living Wage, please for heaven’s sake get on and pay it.

“If you can’t, tell your employees why you’re delaying and when you hope to arrive at a Living Wage.”

Dr Sentamu was speaking after delivering the annual Borderlands Lecture at Durham University.

He told a 150-strong audience at St John’s College that more employers should pay the Living Wage, to support the working poor not “well paid people like me”.

In a wide ranging 45-minute address, he railed against resource, economic, political, social and community injustice, saying society was at a moral, economic and spiritual crossroads and in need of moral, economic and social transformation.

Dr Sentamu also spoke of the “barbarity” of Islamic State, saying they were “using God as a weapon of mass destruction”.

> Well, that’s an accusation that could never be levelled against Christianity….

 His main theme was in support of restorative justice, where offenders and victims jointly decide on how to respond to a crime.

We all bear some collective responsibility for crime, he said, and instead of asking what law has been broken, who broke it and what they deserve, the justice system should ask: who has been hurt, what are their needs and who is obliged to meet their needs.

> Perhaps the Archbish might like to bend the ear of a certain Iain Duncan Smith on that point…

Source – Northern Echo, 07 Mar 2014

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