Islington and Lewisham have become the first councils in the UK to earn Living Wage Employer accreditation, awarded by the Living Wage Foundation.
The councils join other major Living Wage Employers like KPMG, Lush Cosmetics, the London Business School and UNICEF.
The accreditation has been earned through a commitment that both Islington and Lewisham councils have made to pay all their employees at least the London Living Wage (currently £8.30 per hour). Their commitment also extends to employees of contractors who provide services for the councils. Many of these contracted workers are providing frontline essential services from street sweeping to caring for some of the most vulnerable people in the community.
Rhys Moore, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said “We congratulate Lewisham and Islington councils for their leadership and commitment. We are delighted to recognise them as the first public bodies to sign up as accredited Living Wage Employers. They join a growing movement of employers dedicated to ending poverty pay.”
The news marks another milestone in the success of Citizens UK’s Living Wage campaign. To date over 10,000 workers have won a Living Wage which means they can provide for their families.
Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party, said: “I know how hard Islington and Lewisham have worked to become living wage councils and would like to congratulate them on becoming the first local authorities to receive this level of recognition. This is one of many examples of how Labour Councils across the country are delivering fairness in tough times.”
Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock said: “I am very proud that Lewisham is pioneering the London Living Wage, not just for its own employees, but also for those employed by our contractors to deliver services for our borough. Paying a living wage helps not just those individuals and their families, but contributes to the overall wellbeing of the borough.”
Islington Cllr Andy Hull said: “No one should do a hard day’s work for less than they can live on. We are proud of the progress we have made so far in Islington towards ensuring that everyone who does work for the council is paid a Living Wage. But we know there is more to be done – particularly when it comes to areas like social care and schools – and we are working on it. These workers all deserve the dignity of a decent day’s pay.”