Friday, 5 October 2012

Living wage for private contracted staff in Camden

Camden Council today became one of London’s first boroughs to be accredited as a London Living Wage Employer by the Living Wage Foundation.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Sarah Hayward, raised a London Living Wage Employer flag to fly above the Town Hall to commemorate the occasion.

The move by Camden to introduce a LLW policy means that when contracts are considered or renewed by the Council payment of a fair wage will form an integral part of the decision making process. This means that once agreed by Cabinet, workers would be paid the current £8.30 per hour LLW as a minimum.

Camden’s commitment is in response to the Citizens UK campaign encouraging employers to consider paying the living wage – a campaign that has already lifted over 10,000 families out of poverty.

Already paying the LLW to staff that are hired directly by the Council, Camden is committed to ensuring contractors across the Council are also paying their workers the LLW as a minimum. The first contracts to be addressed are within the Carers’ Service. From this month, the Council will also introduce the LLW for all agency staff, finishing a process started in 2009 with a council scrutiny report pushed by Labour and going further than commitments made at the 2010 election and afterwards.

Councillor Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council, said:

“We are proud to be one of the first boroughs in London to not only commit to introducing the LLW but to act on that commitment. Paying an hourly rate which supports a decent standard of living for some of our lowest paid workers is a positive example of how the Council’s policy can directly reduce inequality and provide a positive contribution to the lives of our residents.

“Camden Council already pays the LLW to staff that work directly for us, the next important step is to work with new providers and extend that commitment to new contracts. This may take us some time, but I firmly believe that it is an investment that will improve the quality of services and the daily lives of those who work for Camden. Paying a living wage is even more important as government cuts £18 billion from welfare benefits, including those paid to people in work.”

The commitment to the LLW was announced on the back of the publication of the Council’s new five year vision, the Camden Plan, which has a bold ambition to tackle long-term inequality in the borough. That includes working together with residents, businesses, partners and staff to deliver these ambitions.

Director of Living Wage Foundation, Rhys Moore, said:

“The Living Wage Foundation is delighted to award Camden Council the Living Wage Employer Mark. This move will mean a better life for hundreds of workers and their families. And crucially the Council’s leadership on the issue of low pay is an example to other major employers in the borough and beyond. The growing number of employers who pay the Living Wage understand that it’s not just good for workers, it’s also good for business.”

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