Blog by Cllr Andy Hull, Executive Member for Finance and Resources –
Too many people go to work but come home without the fair pay they deserve.
That’s why Islington Labour has been at the forefront of the campaign for the Living Wage ever since we were elected to run the council in 2010. We’ve been working hard with our partners in community groups, the trade unions and others to tackle the scourge of poverty pay.
In 2010, we launched the UK’s first Fairness Commission (there are now more than 15) to tackle poverty and inequality in our borough. In 2011, its top recommendation was that we should lead the way on the Living Wage. In 2012, we became the first council in the country to become accredited as a Living Wage local authority, paying all our own 5,000 staff the Living Wage. This included cutting our Chief Executive’s salary by £50,000 to secure the Living Wage for our cleaners. In 2013, we guaranteed the Living Wage for 92 per cent of our contractors as well. In 2014, we have extended this to 98 per cent of those working on a council contract.
Next week is Living Wage Week and we are delighted that Shadow Minister for Care and Older People, Liz Kendall MP, will be joining us to celebrate the fact that Islington is now the first council in the country to ensure that all its 500 home care workers receive the Living Wage. These carers who look after elderly and vulnerable people on our behalf are doing some of the most important work in our society and deserve nothing less. What’s more, last week the council’s Executive decided to secure a contract for a residential care home where all staff will be paid the Living Wage as well. We’re the first council in the country to do this and it’s something of which Islington should be really proud.
But there is more to do. Our borough is home to the second highest number (75) of accredited Living Wage employers of any area in the country, but that is still too few.
As we mark Living Wage Week from Monday, flying the Living Wage flag from the roof of the Town Hall, let’s celebrate how far we’ve come. But let’s also recommit ourselves to campaigning to make Islington a place where no-one has to do a hard day’s work for less than they can live on.
The work Islington Labour has done to champion the Living Wage also featured in this weekend’s Observer newspaper.
Pictured: Cllr Hull with Islington Council cleaners who all receive the London Living Wage.