Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, writes about Living Wage Week 2015 –
It’s been three years since Islington became the joint-first local authority to become an accredited Living Wage employer. I am proud that, under Islington Labour’s leadership, we are ensuring more people receive fairer pay.
The benefits of paying the Living Wage are not just felt by those people who receive better pay, they are also felt by the employers themselves. Our homecare providers have reported that since they started paying the Living Wage, staff turnover has reduced from 10% per year to 3%. They have also reported improved staff performance and morale. All of this gives strength to our argument that the Living Wage is good for all.
All directly employed council staff and 98% of its contracted staff are now paid at least the London Living Wage. Last year, we were proud to announce that our major providers of homecare would pay their staff, who do some of the most vital work for some of the most in need people in Islington, the Living Wage.
You may have seen lots of reports lately about the pressures the care sector faces, particularly around the introduction of the Tory Government’s ‘national living wage’. It’s true, social care faces many pressures, and this isn’t helped by the massive cuts imposed on local councils by the Tory Government.
However, Islington’s story shows that this does not have to mean that homecare workers should not receive fair pay.
I was delighted this week to celebrate Living Wage Week by confirming that Islington has achieved yet another first – we are the first local council to ensure that any charities or voluntary groups that we fund through our core grants scheme pay the Living Wage.
However, whilst more private employers are paying the Living Wage, there is much more work to do.
Pictured – Cllr Janet Burgess and Cllr Richard Watts