We won the Living Wage in 2011, but it is ‘just the beginning’. See our pages dedicated to the cleaners, all in Spanish: Español por limpiadores. If you can only read English and don’t understand these pages, now you know how most of the cleaners feel about the rest of this website …
11th March 2011 – UNISON secures commitment to London Living Wage!
Management have today (11th March) announced their commitment to implement the London Living Wage at London Metropolitan University.
Read our statement in the News section here: http://www.londonmetunison.org.uk/2011/03/unison-wins-living-wage/
**Press release – 8th March 2011**
*UNISON secures commitment to dignity at work but insists paying the Living Wage at London Metropolitan University must include all contracted out staff*
UNISON welcomes the news, announced today, that London Metropolitan University is committed to paying the Living Wage for its directly employed staff.
Workers at London Met who are directly employed will get the Living Wage as of the 1st August, 2011. London Met will also ‘give consideration’ to also ensuring that future contracts for cleaning, security and catering services include paying the London Living Wage (currently £7.85, set by the Greater London Assembly each year).
Max Watson, Chairperson of London Met UNISON, said:
“The Living Wage is about dignity in the workplace. Nobody should be forced to survive in London on poverty pay. We all know London is the most expensive place to live in the UK. In the last few months alone we have seen VAT rise to 20%, an increase in travel costs, and rent in London continues to rocket.
“UNISON is determined to close the widening pay gap at London Met. This commitment to the Living Wage for some staff is an important step in that direction. UNISON is adamant that this commitment is meaningful only if the University insists that contractors pay the Living Wage.
It is the staff that clean London Met buildings, provide security and catering services who make up the bulk of the University’s low paid workforce – they need to know they are valued by London Met as much as the directly employed staff are.
“UNISON believes it is vital London Met reasserts its commitment to social justice and to playing a positive role in our communities. London Met teaches in some of the poorest parts of London, and members of UNISON believe a full commitment to the Living Wage is an important move that recognises our role as a socially responsible employer.
“UNISON represents the lowest paid workers at London Met, some of whom are currently on the minimum wage, and our representatives recently called on the new Board of Governors to end the low pay scandal at our University.
“If the University is committed in principle to paying the minimum wage – why not make that commitment meaningful? Those workers deserve a genuine commitment, not a ‘get out clause’.”
UNISON has been lobbying the University since early 2010 to pay the Living Wage as part of our ‘Manifesto for Change’ after the Board of Governors resigned and a new Vice Chancellor, Malcolm Gillies, was appointed.
Since then UNISON submitted detailed proposals to the University’s review into pay and rewards, providing a business case, a moral case and a political case for paying the Living Wage. In October, UNISON wrote to the Vice Chancellor putting forward the case for the London Living wage and followed this up by some of the affected staff electing a delegation to meet with the Vice Chancellor and Human Resources staff to explain to them what is it like trying to survive on the minimum wage in London.
The changes could add as much as £1M to the total annual wages bill, according to the University. Last summer UNISON revealed the same figure was paid annually to the senior management team in bonus payments alone.
In our Manifesto for Change at London Met we call for the London Living Wage (currently £7.85) as a minimum for all staff. In October and November there was a review of pay and awards and we wrote an Open Letter to the Vice Chancellor calling for a meeting to discuss the Living Wage.
We included a business case for a Living Wage and we attached a compelling moral case, based on a UNISON report into the effects of low pay on UNISON’s members families; and we also pointed to the recent bad press that the VC at UCL got for not implementing the Living Wage despite earning six figure sums himself.
Having affiliated to London Citizens, a community organisation that has a Living Wage campaign, Branch officers met with campaigners, cleaners and security guards to discuss what to do next, in light of our VC’s failure to engage. See leaflet for the first meeting.
We agreed to set up a campaign with cleaners, caterers and security guards to try to convince the Board of Governors to agreeing with our call for a London Living Wage.
UNISON is committed to ending poverty pay at London Metropolitan University. Would you like to get involved in our campaign? We are supported by the students’ union, the University and College Union and by London Citizens. If you are a cleaner, a security guard or a caterer and want to find out more, please do so, in confidence. Call Max Watson: 020 7320 3010.
Our campaign has already picked up by the local press:
University College Union bosses demand end to ‘immoral poverty wages’
UNION bosses at London Metropolitan have written to the Holloway university’s vice chancellor demanding an end to immoral “poverty wages”. University College Union chairman Max Watson has told Malcolm Gillies he must introduce the London Living Wage