At a full Lambeth Council Meeting on Wed 28 Jan at 7 pm, Cllr Becca Thackeray, Lambeth's Green Party Councillor, is proposing a motion to make Lambeth Council a "Living Wage" employer. Currently through national pay bargaining rules, every direct employee is paid a Living Wage, but the hundreds of staff who work for the Council via contractors are often not and forced to endure poverty pay.
The motion commits the Council to paying all staff, including sub-contracted staff, the London Living Wage and to use local strategic partnerships and other private sector engagements to promote the living wage more widely.
In November, Green Councillor Jenny Jones successfully passed a motion to make Southwark Council a Living Wage employer. Southwark was only the second Borough to adopt official policy backing a Living Wage, with Lewisham being the other where there are 6 Green Party Councillors.
The Living Wage is the real minimum rate of pay that enables a worker to provide a decent standard of living for themselves and their family. In London, the Living Wage currently stands at £7.45 per hour. The background to this figure can be found in the document, A Fairer London: The Living Wage in London (GLA 2008). Many service sector workers - including cleaners, security guards and catering staff - experience low pay and difficult, sometimes exploitative working conditions. It is estimated that in London alone 400,000 people fall into this working poverty trap.
It remains to be seen if the New Labour Council will support the resolution in Lambeth. The Living Wage is supported by trade unions across London. Whilst New Labour Councillors cross picket lines and force more job cuts, the Green Party continues to campaign in the interests of Lambeth's workers.