AN MP has written to the business services giant behind a call centre opposing its decision to stop paying the real living wage to employees.

Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury expressed ‘profound disappointment’ to Adolfo Hernandez, the new CEO of Capita, which operates a base on Chester Road in Preston Brook.

The site is traditionally occupied by hundreds of staff now mainly working from home.

The Labour MP says scrapping the real living wage will be a blow to lower paid employees who would have been in line for a 10 per cent rise to £12 per hour, although the company says it will pay a minimum £11.56 hourly rate, equivalent to an increase of at least six per cent.

Mr Amesbury wrote: “I am writing to express my profound disappointment upon learning of Capita's decision to cease paying the real living wage to its employees.

“I fully appreciate the challenges faced by businesses, including the difficult decisions that arise in the course of ensuring financial sustainability.”

But he continued: “The cost-of-living crisis is placing immense pressure on workers across the country, and the decision not to commit to the revised real living wage in 2024 has the potential to exacerbate the challenges faced by your employees.”

Capita, which supports private and public sectors including mobile networks, banks, TV licensing, councils and the NHS, hit the headlines over plans to axe 900 jobs, and after it was subjected to cyber-attacks relating to personal data.

But on joining the company, the new CEO insisted the group was in ‘strong financial health’ and ‘well positioned for accelerated revenue growth’.

Trade unions say abandoning the real living wage will adversely impact about 10,000 of the company’s 47,000-strong UK workforce.

Urging Capita to reverse its decision, Mr Amesbury concluded: “Employees who feel valued and adequately compensated are more likely to contribute positively to the organisation's goals.

“Furthermore, as a company that plays a crucial role in delivering public services across the UK, Capita should set an example by prioritising the fair treatment and remuneration of its employees.”

Tracey Fussey, national officer for the Communication Workers Union, said: “Capita’s decision to walk away from the real living wage is brutal.

“The company is fully aware the real living wage is the only wage that tackles in-work poverty and provides a reasonable standard of living.

“Its decision is not in the best interests of our members, who are clearly no longer the lifeblood of the company. We are making representation to the company and seek that its decision is revoked.”

In response, a Capita spokesman said: “Capita has reluctantly taken the difficult decision to withdraw from the real living wage, following its second significant annual increase. 

“Colleagues currently on the real living wage will be paid more than the national living wage, and our lowest-paid employees will all receive an above-inflation pay rise.

“We remain committed to our people and will revisit this decision when appropriate, as part of our continuing review of our cost base.”