First Bus to become UK’s largest national bus operator to be a real Living Wage employer

First Bus is delighted to announce that it will become a real Living Wage (RLW) employer from the 1st of April 2024.

The move means that 1300 colleagues across the UK will benefit from a rise in wages in line with the new commitment, bringing every employee to at least £12 per hour in pay rates. These colleagues are spread across the UK business in various roles and will include workers employed through third party contractors.

Once accredited, First Bus will become the UK’s largest national bus operator to make this commitment, cementing its position as an employer of choice in the sector. This demonstrates the importance of its colleagues to the business; ensuring no colleague ever gets left behind.

Today’s announcement is the latest step change as part of the ongoing business transformation at First Bus, which is putting colleagues and customers at the heart of everything it does.

The RLW is a voluntary rate of pay commitment. This is over and above the UK Government’s National Living Wage (NLW) standard, which is mandatory for companies to pay to workers aged 23+. With thisaccreditation, First Bus will ensure every colleague in every U.K. operation is paid at least the real Living Wage.

The RLW is calculated annually and set independently by the Living Wage Foundation. It is based on actual living costs rather than the median earnings calculations used for NLW. It is applicable to workers aged 18+ and is currently £12.00 per hour.

First Bus will go above and beyond to include its apprentices, by raising their wages to the RLW level over the next eighteen months. This move recognises the value it places on a diverse and inclusive apprenticeship population, as the RLW accreditation does not require employers to do this.

First Bus Managing Director, Janette Bell, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Living Wage Foundation and look forward to achieving our real Living Wage commitment. I am thrilled this will positively impact 1300 of our colleagues with a pay rise from April 1st and that we are once again demonstrating to our people and the market that we care.

“Engaged employees encourage customers to travel more often. So, by treating our employees well, we are also helping to achieve our mission to get people out of their cars and onto the bus.

“We want First Bus to be a place where our people feel welcome, can be their true selves and succeed. It is vital that we do all we can to support our colleagues, and this is another important step in our transformation journey.”

Lynn Anderson, Living Wage Scotland Manager, said:

“We’re delighted that First Bus will be accrediting in April, giving a pay rise to hundreds of employees. First Bus will join more than 3,400 Scottish employers and 14,000 Living Wage employers across the UK who are committed to always paying their staff a wage in line with the cost of living. We look forward to welcoming First Bus to the Living Wage movement.”

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