Sunday, 21 September 2014

The Living Wage

Paying a Living Wage is an important part of social justice. As of April 2016, Living Wage Rates were as follows:

The Living Wage in London : £9.40 an hour
The Living Wage in the rest of the UK : £8.25 per hour
The Government "National Living Wage" for those aged 25+ : £7.20 per hour

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Citizens UK comments on the introduction of the "National Living Wage" :
“We welcome the move by government as a key milestone in the Living Wage campaign, pioneered by Citizens UK leaders in 2001 as a way of tackling the scourge of low pay. Thousands of workers, students and businesses have championed the campaign since then.

"Citizens UK encourages those employers who can afford to go further than the legal minimum to work towards paying the Living Wage – which reflects the cost of living here in the UK. Citizens UK applauds the 2,300+ employers who have signed up to the voluntary rate of £8.25 in the UK & £9.40 in London. This includes a third of the FTSE 100 companies, and high street names such as Ikea, Nationwide and Nestle. This has impacted on the families of over 80,000 employees.


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2015 : Citizens UK report
A report by Citizens UK comments that :

"With over 5.24 million people in the UK, 22% of all employees, earning less than the Living Wage, the Treasury is forced to step in and top-up incomes with in-work benefits, such as working tax credits, so that workers can afford a basic standard of living despite being in employment.

The research shows that in the case of some of the UK’s largest retailers, businesses are benefiting more from the Treasury in wage top-ups than they are paying in tax. Tesco’s low pay culture is supplemented by the Treasury who had to top up their pay rates to the sum of £364 million in the last year, whilst pay for each low waged worker each year at the retail giant Next costs the taxpayer approximately £2,087.

The research sheds substantial light on the retail sector as ‘sales & retail assistants’ make up the largest group of people working on less than the Living Wage across the UK economy at 760,000 people. Despite posting profits of £3.8 billion between them, Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s combined, cost the UK taxpayer well over £700 million as the public purse subsidised the wages paid to their staff. If the top three retailers all paid the Living Wage, the Treasury would save over £200 million."

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2014 : Ikano
Ikano run store cards and manage real estate. Their Corporate Responsibility profile explains "Ikano acts as a responsible company, a good employer and a good neighbour. We treat our partners, customers and co-workers in a responsible way".

However, while internally they pay everyone above the cost of living, they refuse to do anything about the 4 cleaners they contract well below the living wage, despite community organising champions NottinghamCitizens repeatedly raising the issue with them (more on NottsCitizens work here).

Ikano sponsors Nottingham's ROBIN HOOD half marathon, refuses to pay those working for it enough to live on.

So the ever wonderful people at NottinghamCitizens are going to try and help IKANO out by asking people to sponsor a team of Robins to run the Robin Hood half marathon on Saturday 28th September - with the money raised being taken to Ikano's head office and handed over personally to their head of operations, asking that it's used to finally pay these people their due, with any money left over will be used to support Living Wage Week actions in Nottingham this November.

George Gabriel, from Nottingham Citizens, has set up a donation page at :

https://www.justgiving.com/George-Gabriel1

BFTF is proud to have given a donation and hopes that you, dear reader, can either donate or send an email to IKANO to let them know what you think of their policies. Perhaps you might want to let some of IKANO's "famous friends" know how your goodwill in their brands is affected by what IKANO is doing. BFTF certainly will be....

Update 2nd Oct: IKANO have buckled! The JustGiving page reports that :
"BIG NEWS! IKANO HAVE AGREED TO PAY A LIVING WAGE TO THEIR CLEANERS. HURRAH! BUT OUR WORK ISN'T DONE, THEY'RE HOLDING OUT ON ACCREDITATION MEANING THERE'S NO GUARANTEE IN 6 MONTHS THE CLEANERS WON'T BE BACK BELOW THE POVERTY LINE. THAT MEANS WE'RE STILL RUNNING FOR ROBIN!"

2014 : Background
Back in 1998, the freshly elected Labour Government introduced the Minimum Wage (currently £6.50/hr (£12,675 pa Gross for a 27.5hr week. However, whilst the Minimum Wage has increased faster than prices, it is still not enough to actually live on. In many cases, recipients still have to rely on welfare to meet the gap between what they are being paid, and the minimum the need to live on. Ed Milliband has commented on this effect :
"What is happening at the moment is that we are spending billions of pounds subsidising employers who are paying low wages, billions of pounds in benefits, tax credits and housing benefit...For every extra pound that the minimum wage goes up, some estimates say that we will save 50p in benefits and extra tax revenue. "
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[Warning : BFTF sees a Ref Flag whenever a politician says "some estimates" so you may want to treat the specific value of 50p with a pinch of salt]

The wage people need to actually live on is knows, unsurprisingly, as the "Living Wage". It is currently £8.80 in London and £7.65 elsewhere in the country.

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