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By Jonathan Tomlin
St John’s JCR unanimously passed a motion this week to support the introduction of the living wage for scouts at the college.
In a meeting on Sunday, the students resolved to support the Oxford Living Wage Campaign and mandated the President to campaign for a living wage for all staff of St John’s College.
The college has the largest endowment at Oxford, standing at £313 million, yet pays its scouts just £6.49 an hour. The motion described the college’s staff as “an integral part of the College” who “deserve wages that can be lived off”.
JCR President David Messling said “the recent JCR motion was a reaffirmation of our existing support for the Living Wage. The previous commitment was passed in 2008, and we felt that it was important for John’s students to act.”
Jack Clift, a third year St John’s student, agreed: “Scouts deserve to be paid a living wage. St John’s has always complied with the law and this shows the bigger problem that the legal minimum is not enough to live on.”
Sarah Santhosham, Chair of The Oxford Living Wage Campaign, welcomed the motion: “It is only by having an organised campaign that we can begin to work constructively with scouts, students and colleges.”
She continued: “We fully support the initiative taken by St John’s JCR and other common rooms, and will endeavor to assist them in their individual campaigns.”
The living wage in Oxford is currently set as £7.20 an hour. The college bursar declined to comment.