Updates from the Living Wage Foundation

DWP First Whitehall Department to pay Living Wage

Cleaners rejoice as Department for Work and Pensions is first Whitehall department to commit to Living Wage

The Department for Work and Pensions has become the first Whitehall department to commit to the London Living Wage. The move will bring 500 cleaners and catering staff currently paid the National Minimum Wage of £6.19 per hour or just above onto the London Living Wage of £8.55 per hour. Implementation will be carried out by the Facilities Management company Telereal Trillium and will be complete by April 2014.

This is the result of a campaign led by cleaners in Whitehall and organised by the charity Citizens UK. This evening, a Carol Concert of over 100 cleaners, civil servants and other supporters of the Living Wage was held in Westminster by Citizens UK to celebrate the victory.

In May 2012, over 60 Whitehall cleaners signed a letter calling for a Living Wage and left it on the desk of Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith with a request for a meeting. Iain Duncan Smith met with a delegation of cleaners and clergy from Citizens UK in September and expressed his sympathy and interest in the Living Wage.

Citizens UK will continue to encourage all Whitehall Departments to adopt the Living Wage and cleaners across Whitehall have joined the campaign, writing to ten Ministers seeking meetings. Mayor of London Boris Johnson, whose office sets the London Living Wage rate, has made a manifesto commitment to lobby Whitehall to pay the Living Wage.

Samuel , cleaner in the Department for Work and Pensions, said:
“I take an hour and a half to get to work on two buses. The Living Wage will allow me to get the train to work which will save me time and allow me to spend time with family. We are so happy we will get the Living Wage.”

Neil Jameson, Director of Citizens UK, said:
“We wholeheartedly congratulate Iain Duncan Smith for taking a lead in Whitehall and paying the Living Wage. He has shown his commitment to make work pay and we are now confident that other Government Departments will follow suit.”

A DWP spokesperson said:

"Our suppliers have agreed to pay the London Living Wage to their DWP cleaners and caterers working in London by April 2014. Ministers strongly believe that work should always pay and very much welcome this news."

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said:
“This is welcome news for DWP's hard working cleaners and catering staff. The enhanced rate provided by the London Living Wage delivers a decent standard of living for workers who play a vital role in London's success. As the season of goodwill approaches, this is the perfect time for even more employers to sign up to a pay deal that leads to a better motivated and more dedicated workforce”. 


  • The Living Wage campaign was launched in 2001 by Citizens UK. The campaign has now won over £210m for 45,000 people across the UK.
  • The Living Wage Foundation has now accredited over 100 Living Wage Employers including Aviva, KPMG, Queen Mary University of London, Save the Children.
  • The London Living Wage is set by Mayor of London Boris Johnson and is currently £8.55 per hour.


14th December 2012, 13:22
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