Guest Blog: Jan-Hein Hemke – Managing Director, Facilicom
Remember, remember the 5th of November
The original rhyme ‘Remember, remember the 5th of November’ commemorates, of course, the 1605 plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament. This year though we’re hoping the date will mark the start of a rather more successful campaign period.
That’s because this year’s Living Wage Week runs from Sunday 5th November to Saturday 11th November. The campaign for fair wages runs all year round, but the special focus during Living Wage Week helps to draw attention and usually brings a big boost in companies signing up to the Living Wage movement; whether as Living Wage Employers, Recognised Service Providers or Friendly Funders.
Importantly, Living Wage Week is also the time of year when the new voluntary pay rate is announced. With the government set to lift the cap on public sector wages aswell, levels of pay are unlikely to ever be more in the spotlight, so it is important that this opportunity is taken to raise awareness and increase the number of companies signed up.
Facilicom and Trigion have been supporters of the Living Wage movement for many years. In fact, we helped establish the Recognised Service Provider scheme for those companies who don’t set the wages of all their employees. Instead, when tendering, Recognised Service Providers supply a price for colleagues to receive the Living Wage and explain the many advantages of doing so.
Alongside the benefits to the individual receiving the Living Wage – which aren’t just financial – there’s increasing evidence that rather than being detrimental to profits, paying the fair wage actually helps businesses grow. We certainly haven’t be held back over the years we’ve been paying it. We are also able to attract and retain better quality operatives because they know they’ll receive a fair wage.
Since this time last year, the number of Living Wage Employers is up from 2,875 to 3705, Recognised Service Providers from 75 to 104 and the more recently established Friendly Funders from 16 to 31. These figures are all moving in the right direction, but we know there are many more companies who could join in.
We also know some businesses pay fair wage levels already without seeking the accreditation. However, it’s not difficult to join and by doing so companies can reap the benefits of visibly being a responsible employer, and help encourage the groundswell of support. There are still many service providers, including cleaning companies and security firms, that could be part of the Living Wage movement; we’ve shown it’s possible.
The Living Wage Foundation has achieved so much already and there are many thousands of workers who are no longer facing in-work poverty, thanks to their tireless work. It shouldn’t be too much to ask for people to earn a ‘real’ Living Wage in return for their day’s work and if you sign up, you could really make a difference to someone’s life.