Cornish baker WC Rowe has become one of the biggest UK food companies to commit to paying the living wage.
The company, which supplies Cornish pasties to major supermarkets, independent retailers and the foodservice sector, will be paying the new wage from 1 November and also plans to be accredited by the Living Wage Foundation by then.
The move will affect 240 of Rowe’s staff - primarily baking operatives and retail sales assistants - who are currently paid between the national minimum wage of £6.50 an hour and the living wage rate of £7.85.
WC Rowe CEO Kerry Lynch said paying the living wage was a big step for the company that reflected its commitment to investing in people. “The long-established truth, that a business is only as strong as its people, is a basic tenet,” he said. “The living wage minimum is not an empty promise; it is being awarded in 2015 not as incentive or reward but as a clear message - our basic standards and our staff rewards are both high.”
Lynch added the move was a significant investment made possible by the business’s strong performance over the past two years.
Public interest in the living wage is rising, but adoption among food and drink companies to date has been limited. WC Rowe is only the third baker - and the largest - to make the move.
Rhys Moore, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “WC Rowe will be one of the first major food manufacturers to accredit, and we hope the leadership they show will encourage others in the sector to consider the living wage.”
The living wage rate is reviewed annually taking into account cost of living; the next review is due in November.