News: Why Aldi should become an accredited Living Wage employer
by Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation
Yesterday's news that Aldi plans to give all shop floor workers a pay rise to a real Living Wage was a great start to the day. This will make a huge difference to thousands of the supermarket’s workers up and down the country, guaranteeing them a wage that covers the cost of living and means they can live a life of dignity.
The next step for Aldi, and indeed other companies that are thinking about paying the real Living Wage rates, is to accredit with the Living Wage Foundation.
So why does accreditation matter? Accreditation is a public commitment from employers to ensure that all employees who work for them, directly and indirectly, can earn a wage that is enough to live on. There are over 6,000 accredited Living Wage employers across the country ranging from FTSE 100 companies to small coffee shops. They proudly display the Living Wage employer badge and here’s why it matters.
Guaranteeing a Living Wage to sub-contracted staff
Living Wage accreditation not only guarantees a real Living Wage to directly employed staff, but crucially, it includes indirectly employed staff like cleaners, warehouse workers, catering staff and security guards.
The Living Wage campaign began nearly twenty years ago among cleaners in East London who were working multiple jobs in the city to make ends meet. These workers have been described as “invisible” because they may wear different uniforms and are often not included in workforce statistics or in gender pay gap reporting, but they regularly make up a huge percentage of the low paid workforce. Accredited Living Wage employers recognise their responsibility to these wider workers and without accreditation, we cannot be sure that employees like cleaners are also being paid a real Living Wage.
Public commitment to staff and customers
The accreditation badge is an ethical benchmark for responsible pay and gives staff and consumers the confidence that Living Wage employers have committed to increase employees’ wages every year in line with the cost of living. For businesses it can enhance your brand, reputation and boost staff motivation and morale, ensuring that more people want to work for and buy from your company.
Joining a movement
We know that once a large company or organisation in an industry signs up as an accredited Living Wage it encourages other companies to follow suit – and the prize of first accredited Living Wage supermarket is still up for grabs.
Living Wage employers support the campaign and invest in the movement to help it grow and reach ever more employers and employees. The Living Wage Foundation has put over a £1 billion back into the pockets of low paid workers and it is thanks to the support of accredited Living Wage employers that we are able to oversee and promote a cost of living calculation every year, support employers to implement the real Living Wage and ensure accuracy, transparency and consistency in how it is applied.
Becoming an accredited Living Wage Employer is a public commitment to doing the right thing by all your staff, and it helps the Living Wage movement to grow, providing a route out of poverty for thousands of families across the country.