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London: Greens Call on Mayor to “Step Up Pressure” on Living Wage
Martin Hoscik

November 16, 2010
View the Original Article

A leading London Assembly Member has called on Mayor of London Boris Johnson to “step up the pressure” on central and local Government to adopt the London Living Wage for public sector and departmental contract workers in the capital.

Green party AM Darren Johnson made his call on the day Mayor Johnson announced that a further 17 companies including Bank of America, cosmetics giant L’Oreal and Slaughter and May had agreed to pay their staff the London Living Wage of £7.85 an hour.

Calculated by the Greater London Authority, the London Living Wage was introduced during Ken Livingstone’s Mayoralty and reflects the minimum income level Londoners need to meet the additional costs of living in the capital.

Since coming to office in 2008 Mayor Johnson has followed his predecessor in being a vigorous champion of the Living Wage.

Mr Johnson said the Mayor should be congratulated for making “big strides with the private sector” but claimed he had “put very little pressure on the Government and London’s boroughs.”

The Assembly Member has called on the Mayor to “personally meet with George Osborne to press the case for the cleaners and other low-paid public servants across the city.”

Announcing the adoption of the London Living Wage by a further wave of major companies this morning, the Mayor said “a fair and decent wage for all Londoners is critical if the capital is to remain diverse, inclusive and prosperous.”

“There is an army of workers – from cleaners to care workers – who keep this city functioning, and it is only right that their skills and hard work are rewarded with a wage that will help keep them out of poverty and ensure they are better off in work than out of work. I commend the companies that have pledged their support to date and I hope they will encourage others to follow their lead.”

The announcement of the latest companies to sign up to the LLW was welcomed by Kaneez Shaid from London Citizens which launched a campaign for a Living Wage 10 years ago. Shaid said the capital was “reaching critical mass” in the adoption of the LLW in the financial services and the higher education sectors.

John Griffith-Jones, chairman of KPMG in the UK, said: “We pay our staff a Living Wage because we firmly believe it is the right thing to do. It also makes good business sense. We have found that paying the Living Wage results in higher levels of motivation, loyalty and productivity. Turnover amongst staff receiving the Living Wage has more than halved. In short, paying the Living Wage seems right from a moral standpoint and more than pays for itself.”