Guest Blog: Robbie Young, National Union of Students
A fair day's pay for a fair day's work still isn't the reality for so many across the world and within the UK. The results shown in the 'Living Wage Foundation Student Opinion Survey' today show there is more pressure on employers than ever to pay all staff a wage that they can live on. It's clear these companies simply won't attract the talent they require if they are not fair employers.
With 64% of students actively seeking out new evidence of ethical practices, companies must show commitment where possible to become accredited Living Wage employers. This polling is a clear reflection of the difference between the next generations of graduates. They are engaged and politically active but also want to work for ethical companies who pay all their staff enough to allow them to eat and pay the bills - not be faced with choosing one or the other.
The student movement campaigns tirelessly to ensure its members are paid adequately for the work they carry out alongside their studies. We know more students are having to work longer hours in employment whilst studying which can have a detrimental effect on their performance in education. It is unsustainable and unconscionable to allow businesses to pay less than the Living Wage to anyone but we are particularly focussed on those under 25 as they so often get the rough end of the deal. For example the current ‘National Living Wage’ doesn’t apply to younger workers in their first year and apprentices can be paid as little as £3.30 an hour for their work. Our campaigning spreads to those we purchase from as well and student unions are leading the way on buying from ethically sound and Fairtrade companies.
The student movement and organisations like Living Wage Foundation are an example to the rest of society when it comes to workers’ rights and fair pay. We must put pressure on those who are slow to make such issues a priority. We have made significant progress in the last 5 years and all evidence points to a boosted economy when a Living Wage is provided as a minimum. It’s clear from today’s results that those about to enter the workforce care more than ever that everybody regardless of position is paid adequately. If businesses want to recruit the best and the brightest they need to make sure low, inadequate pay is a thing of the past. Paying the Living Wage is the first step to becoming a responsible and sustainable business.