Unions in the USA and the UK have waged successful local campaigns to ensure that workers are paid a living wage. A new manual explains how unions in London use the concept of the living wage in campaigns and negotiations.
The local government, but also major banks, consultancies and non-profits have included the living wage in their procurement policies. They have signed up to a basic charter for socially responsible contracting, stipulating that all staff must be paid at least £7.20 per hour and be eligible to 20 days of paid holiday, ten days full sick pay and free access to a trade union.
In addition, consultancy KPMG has made efforts to reduce the divide between ‘regular’ and contract staff, by having the latter participate in KPMG induction programmes and giving them the same uniforms as KPMG staff.
The concept of the living wage was introduced by the London Citizens coalition and was also used in Unite’s Justice for Cleaners Campaign, fashioned after the successful American Justice for Janitors campaign. Justice for Cleaners focused on decent pay for cleaners in the Canary Wharf business district, who often had to take two or even three jobs to survive in the expensive British capital.
TUC Living Wage Manual; more on London living wage campaign