Living Wage week is drawing to an end. It has been a great opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of paying a real living wage and to celebrate businesses who have already committed to ensuring their staff are paid fairly.
Helping The London Window Cleaning Company, a Living Wage employer in the constituency.
It was announced on Monday that the UK Living Wage has gone up to £8.45 and in London it is now £9.75. This is an independently calculated amount based on what an employee needs to earn to live.
Low-paid workers are finding it harder to make end meet, unaffordable housing, the rising cost of living and cuts to benefits means more people are struggling to provide for their families. This year Lewisham food bank has seen a 20% increase of people coming to them for help. Paying a decent wage can give people to ability to support themselves and their children.
There are currently around 4,200 businesses in Lewisham Deptford, a 9% increase since last year. I believe it has never been more important to make sure employees are looked after and paid an ethical wage that covers the costs of living in the capital.
Earlier today I visited a business in my constituency that do exactly that. The London Window Cleaning Company are proud advocates of the Living Wage who make sure their employees are supported in and out of work. They offering training, courses and even opportunities to branch out and start their own businesses.
I met with Christopher Turner, the Managing Director and two of his employees Dara Curtis-Dixon and Killian Negros. They both live and went to school in the borough and got their jobs with the London Window Cleaners through a youth training initiative.
They were on a job at Peabody Sheltered Housing, a sheltered living building who pay the living wage, which the guys clean on a not-for-profit basis. I got the chance to chat with them about what t helving wage means to them.
Killian told me if he wasn’t receiving the living wage live would be very different, ‘This means I can buy my food for my family and pay my rent, I’m not saving heaps of money right now, just living.’
I also got the chance to get stuck in and help!
Killian told me if he wasn’t receiving the living wage life would be very different, ‘This means I can buy my food for my family and pay my rent, it would be very difficult if I wasn’t on it because I’m not saving heaps of money right now, just living.’
Christopher Turner, The Managing Director of The London Window Cleaning Company, told me he believes if the bigger companies sign up to paying the Living Wage it would make it easier for smaller ones to do the same. ‘Every company has to recognise we are spending money to train and people gain experience over the course of time. The longer you have staff, the better quality of service you are going to be able to deliver. The small investment in raising the wage, might feel like a big one at the start, but it means you’re going to walk away with so many benefits in terms of staff retention.
‘Living in London is enough of a challenge without worrying about whether your salary is going to meet your needs at the end of the month.’
A lot has been going on throughout the week, and there are still opportunities to get involved. There has been a debate in parliament and events have been held across the country. Lewisham council have also been playing their part in encouraging businesses to sign up to the Living Wage Foundation with Cllr Joe Dromey writing to fifty of the biggest employers in the area asking them to sign up to the Living Wage Foundation.
Lewisham council was one of the first local authorities in the UK to earn living wage employer accreditation in March 2012 and have introduced a business rated discounts for those who sign up to become recognised Living Wage service provider. We need to see more initiatives like this!
The following organisations based in Lewisham Deptford are accredited employers of the London Living Wage scheme:
The London Window Cleaner Ltd – SE13 7UA
London Housing Trust Housing – SE8 5AD
RN Property Property – SE13 5EA
Goldsmiths, University of London – SE14 6NW
TACT Charity – SE13 6TJ
The New Cross Gate Trust – SE14 5AE
CAM Specialist Support Limited – SE23 1AH
Deptford Reach Charity – SE8 4AT
Please considered getting involved, it’s a great cause that pays off. To become and accredited employer living wage CLICK HERE