LOCAL businesses have backed MP Angela Rayner's campaign for a full Living Wage for workers in Ashton-under-Lyne.
They congratulated IKEA for introducing from April the full Living Wage of £8.25 an hour for all 280 employees at their store in Ashton.
Store manager Martyn Allan told local businesses: "We think that the government's living wage of £7.20 is a good step, but it doesn't go far enough.
"Instead we are paying the Living Wage Foundation's £8.25 an hour, because it will make more of a difference to our staff in Ashton.
"It is part of a comprehensive reward package for our staff, which includes increased pensions, free meals and Christmas presents as well as talking to them about the hours they want to work. There's no point in someone being on just 16 hours a week and getting £8.25 an hour."
He added: "We believe the full Living Wage is part of our company's values and will be good for business in the long term."
Tameside council leader, Keiran Quinn praised IKEA for giving a strong lead to businesses in the borough.
He said: "This is a major step forward and the council will do everything we can to help other businesses in Tameside to follow suit."
Angela Rayner brought together a variety of local companies at the store to celebrate Living Wage Week and to discuss the way forward for the campaign.
She said: "This has been a really positive meeting and I hope that from today, we can work together to build the Living Wage campaign in Ashton-under-Lyne.
"We know that putting more money in the pockets of working people is good for the local economy and increases the well-being of workers, as well as boosting staff retention and cutting absenteeism and sickness. "
Tom Skinner, from the Greater Manchester Living Wage campaign, added: "This is the start of something really exciting. Our role is to get people talking about the Living Wage and putting it into practise.
"There is a strong business case for employers like IKEA to sign up up to this voluntary measure. The more low paid workers have money in their pockets to spend in the local economy, the better for growth. "