SOUTHAMPTON City Council is finally set to introduce the Living Wage after councillors approved the proposals.

The move did not go through without controversy after two councillors voted against it and were labelled “a disgrace” by a former mayor.

Labour council bosses had announced they would introduce the Living Wage, which is calculated to cover the real cost of living, last year. But its introduction was delayed as negotiations over simplifying the many methods of payment for staff at the council dragged on.

On Wednesday Labour’s proposal to introduce the wage – which currently stands at £7.31 per hour – and simplify the ways staff are paid was voted through at a meeting of the full council subject to negotiations with unions.

It will be backdated to last September.

But independent anti-cuts councillors Keith Morrell and Don Thomas voted against the proposals, saying that they supported introducing the Living Wage but objected to a condition which would see the council dismiss and re-engage staff if union ballots rejected the proposed changes.

Cllr Morrell said the council was “putting a gun to the head of staff” but the two were harangued after the meeting by former city mayor Derek Burke, who labelled them a “disgrace”.