Justin Welby 'embarrassed' about Church of England pay below minimum rate

(L-R) Bank of England Governor Mark Carney; Rev. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury; International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde and Philipp Hildebrand, Vice-Chair, BlackRock, Inc; leave after participating in a panel discussion during the IMF-World Bank annual meetings in Washington October 12, 2014

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby faced embarrassment this week when he acknowledged reports that the Church of England is offering jobs that pay below the living wage in Britain.

His acknowledgement of the "embarrassing" situation came less than one week after he had reprimanded politicians for not ensuring workers were paid a "modest hourly rate," the Financial Times newspaper reported Feb 23.

Welby told clergy and business leaders in Birmingham, England's second biggest city on Feb. 23 that the church was implementing plans to ensure the living wage that is defined as £7.85 an hour outside London was paid across the Anglican body but said it would take time.

Market Business News noted  on Feb. 23 that the Church of England told employers to pay workers a living wage, but failed to announce that it fails to do this with many of its own workers.

The Sun denounced the church's "hypocrisy" by listing several job ads that offered wages well below the "living wage" of 7.85 British pounds ($12.14) an hour (9.15 pounds in London).


"It's embarrassing. We'd prefer to be there. We're getting there as quickly as we can. It's not the only area where we fall short of our own standards. We work on it as hard as we can," said Welby.

Anglican bishops had circulated an open document describing the UK's political culture as "almost moribund" ahead of May's national general election and Market Business News said it sounds very much like a "do as I say and not as I do" sermon after the Sun's revelation.

The bishops sent out a pamphlet entitled "Who is my neighbor?" for discussion on the vote that is focussing on economic issues.

It sought to give advice as t how Christians should approach the national election scheduled for and in it gave support to a living wage, referring to the backing given to the concept by a commission headed by John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, the second highest ranking Church of England prelate.

The Sun newspaper revealed an advertisement to work at Canterbury Cathedral paying 6.70 pounds an hour, and another one for staff at Lichfield Cathedral paying the lowest government-set amount of 6.50 pounds an hour. The ad displayed other low-paying jobs.

The document stated: "The Archbishop of York has been at the forefront in arguing for the living wage.

"It represents the basic principle that people are not commodities and that their lives cannot adapt infinitely in response to market pressures. The labor market cannot enable people to live and flourish unless the moral limits of the market are recognized."

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