Queens' College, Cambridge: the only Oxbridge college so far to be awarded the plaque. FLICKR: sadsid96

Queens’ College has been recognised for paying a living wage with a special plaque.

The plaque was awarded to the college by Citizens UK, an “alliance of civil society organizations in the UK”. It is the first accreditation awarded to an Oxbridge college by the Living Wage Foundation.

Ben Bayley, head of the Cambridge Living Wage Campaign and an undergraduate at Queens’, was overjoyed with the award. "This is a very proud time to be a member of Queens' College,” he said.

He paid tribute to the bursar of Queens’, Jonathon Spence, for his honesty during negotiations as he “never attempted to hide the fact that Queens' casual staff were not originally payed [sic] the Living Wage.”

Bayley went on to criticise other colleges who officially pay the living wage, calling out Homerton as “systematically disingenuous” and obstructing his inquiries by “sinking to levels of half-truth and obfuscation which would astonish even the most wily of tax-evasion criminals”.

Homerton, Bayley alleges, does not pay the living wage to 58 ‘casual’ staff despite officially adopting the living wage earlier this year. Bayley also accused St Catharine’s of having an “undisclosed number of casuals”. He also alleged that Newnham does not pay a living wage, despite claiming to do so.

The Cambridge Living Wage Campaign aims to have a living wage paid to all college and university staff. The living wage, currently £7.65 an hour, was calculated by the Minimum Income Standard research project as the amount necessary to avoid the effects of poverty, such as malnutrition and poor health.

The University of Cambridge announced it would pay all directly employed staff a living wage in July, after King’s College, the worst offender for low pay, decided to adopt the living wage in February.