Westminster’s Labour Councillors are calling on Westminster City Council to pay all their staff the London Living Wage of £8.55p an hour (rising to £8.80p), including those working for out-sourced contractors.
At the Council meeting on 13th November, Labour Councillors have tabled the following motion for a vote;
“As the cost of living rises and income stagnates, this Council is very concerned about the long-term effect of low wages on many of the borough’s residents. The combination of low and stagnant wages, short-term and zero-hour contracts and part-time work is forcing people for the first time to apply for social security welfare payments, thereby relying on additional financial resources from the tax payer at a time when we are hoping to make sensible and sustainable efficiency savings that do not affect front-line services.
This Council is committed to create strong and resilient communities that are stable and self-supporting. Therefore this Council commits that from the 2014-15 financial year all directly employed and contracted staff will be paid at least the London Living Wage of £8.55 as determined by the GLA. This Council further commits to review its procurement, contract and best value polices to ensure that all workers directly or indirectly employed by the Council will be paid the London Living Wage.”
Labour’s initiative is supported by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who this week announced the annual increase in the London Living Wage taking the hourly rate from £8.55 to £8.80 per hour.
The Mayor has worked with the Living Wage Foundation, part of London Citizens, over the past year to encourage even more employers in the city to sign up to the scheme. The number of accredited employers in London paying the Living Wage has soared 174 per cent from 78 to 214, with major new sign ups including National Portrait Gallery, Pearson and Oxfam.
Paying the London Living Wage delivers benefits for individuals and companies. Research from Queen Mary University showed that introducing the London Living Wage improves staff retention rates for firms and more than half of employees feel happier about their place of work. The annual rise in the rate, which is calculated by the Mayor’s economics team based on the cost of living in the capital, has been in place since 2005. Since that time it has put around £235 million into the pockets of lower paid Londoners.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:
“More and more London firms are recognising the benefits of fair remuneration for all of their workforce. Paying the London Living Wage ensures hard working Londoners are helped to make ends meet, providing a boost not only for their personal quality of life but delivering indisputable economic dividends to employers too. This in turn is good for London’s productivity and growth. It is extremely heartening to see major new companies signed up this year but we need more converts. I hope we can spur on even more organisations to do the right thing.’
And in a speech in Battersea today, Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, committed Labour to supporting business to pay the London Living Wage;
“For the first year of a Labour government, we will say to every firm: You start to make work pay, through a living wage. And we will give you a 12 month tax rebate of 32p for every extra pound they spend. Make work pay contracts will raise wages, keep the benefit bill down and tackle the cost of living crisis. It is a good deal for workers, business and the taxpayer too. And by tackling low pay we won’t just strengthen our economy, we will strengthen our society as well. It is not good for our country for people to be working 60 or 70 hours a week, doing 2 or 3 jobs, not having time to see their kids. We will change it. Under a One Nation Labour government: work will pay.”
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;
“Adopting the London Living Wage for all the Council’s workers, whether they are directly or indirectly employed, is the practical and common sense thing to do. This should not be a party political matter and we call on Westminster Conservatives to vote for this cross party initiative next week.”
Labour Councillors have also set up an online petition – “We the undersigned petition Westminster City Council to ensure that all Council contractors pay their staff the London Living Wage”