YORK confectionery giant Nestlé has become one of the first major manufacturers in the UK to be a Living Wage employer.

The formal Living Wage accreditation, which has been awarded to Nestlé today, covers the company's 1,750 staff in York as well as its 8,000 employees across the UK.

News of the announcement has also been welcomed by the Archbishop of York who last week revealed the findings from the Living Wage Commission report urging more big employers to sign up to the Living Wage.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said: “I’d like to commend Nestlé for its voluntary commitment to take up the living wage. This is a very encouraging step and it is my hope that other organisations will follow their lead.

“The emerging recovery means that thousands more businesses are now able to pay a Living Wage to all of their staff – those that can afford to do this should be encouraged to do it without delay."

In addition to staff employed directly by Nestlé York, the company will work closely with contractors and agencies to ensure all workers will be paid the UK Living Wage by December 2017.

Hugh Bayley, MP for York Central said: "Nestlé is one of the UK's biggest employers and it plays a pivotal part in York's economy.

"I congratulate them on implementing the living wage. It is a very significant step."

Nestlé UK & Ireland Chairman and CEO, Fiona Kendrick said: “We are proud to be the first mainstream manufacturer in the UK to become a Living Wage employer and see this as an opportunity to be a positive influence in our sector."

As part of the Nestlé Youth Employment Initiative, which provides employment opportunities to young people under 30, the Living Wage will also apply to the company’s graduate, internship and Fast Start school leaver programmes.