Whitehall Cleaners Call for Living Wage
Eight Cabinet Ministers arrived at their desks last Thursday to find hand-delivered letters from cleaners in their department asking for a Living Wage of £8.30 an hour.
Cleaners stepped up their attempts to secure a Living Wage with a coordinated overnight action. A total of more than 150 cleaners signed the letters.
Cabinet ministers receiving a letter included George Osborne, Nick Clegg, Francis Maude, Vince Cable, Theresa May, Ken Clarke, Danny Alexander and Michael Gove. A letter was also left in the pigeon hole of Britain’s most senior Judge, the President of the Supreme Court Lord Phillips.
Each letter contains personal testimonies of working poverty and the cleaners’ struggle to raise their families while working two or more jobs because of their low pay. In 2010 at the Citizens UK General Election Assembly David Cameron described the Living Wage as an ‘idea whose time has come’ but currently most Whitehall cleaners are still paid the minimum wage.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson is a long-time champion of the Living Wage and publicly committed in his 2012 Mayoral Manifesto to getting the Government to introduce the Living Wage in Whitehall.
The cleaners are escalating their actions and willing to go on record, after letters were previously anonymously delivered to Iain Duncan Smith and William Hague. Iain Duncan Smith is said to be supportive of the Living Wage and has agreed to meet his DWP cleaners.
The cleaners are working with Citizens UK, the country’s biggest civil society alliance, which launched the Living Wage campaign in 2001 and has won £96m over the last ten years for the lowest paid working families.