London Living Wage Campaign

The Olympics and Paralympics have come and gone bringing with them to East London great sporting endeavour encompassing skill, endurance, perseverance, and diversity in a spirit of fairness, equality and achievement that is an inspiration to millions.

In East London we have hundreds of thousands of public sector workers and workers in the Private and Voluntary Sector that also embody these qualities. However, very often, the one missing ingredient is fairness. A fair days pay for a fair days work may not be reaching for the sky but is all too often beyond the reach of workers providing vital services to the public.

The London Living Wage has been established as the benchmark of fair pay in London, one of the world’s wealthiest cities and also one of the most expensive places to live on earth.

What is it?
An hourly rate of pay, set independently, every year by the GLA in London. Currently £8.30 an hour (to be reviewed every November).

The campaign aims to get employers to pay all people the living wage, so that they are rewarded fairly for the hard work they do. Between them, the employers in London who committed to paying a living wage lifted 3,500 families out of poverty last year.

Why it’s important
For individuals, it’s an incentive to work, and a vital way out of hardship for their families.

For employers, it makes business sense. It increases loyalty and productivity. And it’s a sign that they respect everyone who makes their organisation work (even those you don’t employ directly), and value the work they do.

And it’s important for a society facing tough financial times. With work comes dignity, responsibility, stability, hope.

That’s why the Prime Minister says it’s ‘an idea whose time has come’. Key members of the Opposition are behind it, too. And big business, universities, charities, and other organisations are signing up.

Who pays it?
London Mayor, Boris Johnson has increased London’s living wage to £8.30 per hour for the GLA but who else’s paying it?

Lewisham, Tower Hamlets, Ealing, Islington and Southwark Councils all subscribe to the scheme. As do University College London, the Royal College of Music, London Metropolitan University and the Institute of Education.

The private sector haven’t done too shabbily either with law firms and investment banking belying their popular reputations as bastions of rampant capitalism – Allen & Overy, Freshfields, Eversheds, Slaughter & May, Linklaters, Bruckhaus Deringer, Norton Rose, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and UBS signed up to the LLW initiative. Even London Underground pay their cleaners the LLW since last summer and the Olympics labour force will see it too.

Retailers, however, are on the living wage naughty step with only two of Oxford Street’s 300 shops paying their staff the LLW and some even paying below the national minimum wage of £5.93 for those over 21.

What is UNISON doing?
Here in Waltham Forest we are continuing to ask the local Council to agree to sign up to the campaign so that it not only pays the London Living Wage to its own employees but insists that the staff employed by other companies and organisations working on all its contracts also receive the London Living Wage.  So far the Council has refused to take this step.

We are now stepping up our campaign and want to take the issue directly to all those employers in Waltham Forest and East London that continue to pay poverty wages.

How can I help?
As a first step we have dispatched a questionnaire to members working in the private and voluntary sector in Waltham Forest to find out about their pay and broader terms and conditions at work.  We will build up a database of the pay, terms and conditions that our members receive so that we can target our campaign at the right employers. We also have a petition that you can sign and pass around at work to get as many signatures as possible. You can download that petition here.

Am I paid the London Living Wage?
The following calculator will tell you whether you receive the London Living Wage or not –

Hours/per   week

























































Just take the number of hours you work per week (or the full time hours of the post that you work pro-rata if part-time) and look at your annual salary, monthly salary or weekly pay to see if you are paid above, at or below the London Living Wage. If your pay is lower than the figure in this list then you are paid less than the London Living Wage.

What next?
Once we have identified those employers paying below the London Living Wage we will be in consulting with appropriate members to discuss how we present our case to those employers. We are also seeking partners in our campaign so if you know of any organisations that would like to support the campaign please let us know.  These could be your church or mosque, your tenants association or whatever.  We will then be stepping up the campaign to get Waltham Forest Council to sign up to the campaign. We will be in touch with other UNISON branches to do the same where their East London council has also not as yet signed up to the London Living Wage.

Please download the petition, copy it, hand it about, get them filled in and returned to us as soon as you can.

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