A two-week campaign to encourage more financial sector firms to pay all their employees the London Living Wage (LLW) has been launched by the City of London Corporation.
Posters advertising the campaign have appeared at nine of the capital’s Underground stations, and there will also be newspaper ads and what the Corporation calls “direct discussions with City businesses”.
Currently, over 100 financial and professional services firms in the City are registered LLW employers out of a total of around 9,500.
Launching the campaign, Corporation policy chair Catherine McGuinness said: “One in five people employed in the capital don’t earn a wage they can live on. I’m calling on City firm to help consign this statistic to the history books.” She urged more financial sector firms to pay the LLW, currently set at £10.55 an hour.
The campaign is backed by the Living Wage Foundation, which calculates living wage rates nationally. Its head of campaigns, Lola McEvoy, said: “Many financial services firms still don’t pay their security staff and cleaners enough to live on and we know more can be done.”
Stuart Wright, property and facilities director for Aviva, who also chairs the Living Wage Foundation, stressed that people paid the LLW “feel valued for their contribution” which “creates pride amongst workers and aids retention and recruitment for employers.” Aviva has been a Living Wage employer since 2006.
The City of London Corporation itself has been an LLW employer since 2014 and says that from this year it will begin paying all its staff and its suppliers’ staff the new rate for 2019 as soon as it is announced in November, rather than waiting until the following April as it is common practice among Living Wage employers.
There are approximately 23,500 companies of every kind in the area served by the Corporation, the great majority of these – nearly 20,000 – employ fewer than 10 people, though 265 are categorised by the Office for National Statistics as large companies with workforces of over 250 people.
Across the capital, in all sectors, more than 1,500 employers are registered as paying the London Living Wage, which is supported by the Mayor of London.
Last week, Peabody, one of London’s leading housing associations, published a report on low incomes in the capital which found that many Londoners in work are “living close to the breadline” after ten years of weak income growth and cuts to benefit entitlements.
Produced in partnership with think tank the Social Market Foundation, the report recommended national government to investigate introducing a mandatory London Living Wage, as distinct from the current voluntary one. Chief executive Brendan Sarsfield has called for “urgent action” on low pay.