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London: Boris Johnson: Bankers Have ‘Moral Duty’ to Donate Bonuses
The Docklands 24
John Hyde

November 19, 2010
View the Original Article

The London Mayor has been a prominent supporter of the capital’s banking community in the face of criticism over their part in the financial crisis. But even he accepts there will be public outrage if hefty sums are paid out to high-level executives in the traditional ‘bonus season’ leading up to Christmas.

The Mayor, speaking at an event to promote the Living Wage for London’s poorest workers, believes it is vital that bankers take a generous stance.

“This is a city oof huge gaps between rich and poor,” he said. “I defend the strong and fantastic financial sector we have here but bankers can do themselves the power of good if they give a proportion of what they earn to good causes.

“There are people in grinding poverty who could do with help and London creates an amazing platform for bankers to earn stupendous amounts of money - they should show recognition for the many people who live nearby who are much less fortunate than themselves.”

The Mayor spoke as he confirmed the expansion of the London Living Wage scheme that has seen thousands of the poorest sectors of society paid more because of the expense of living in the capital.

He said public anger at bonus payments would see financial sector workers subjected to “scorn and derision” for a long time to come, but signing up to paying the Living Wage would go some way to winning hearts and minds.

“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 keep them out of poverty.”

There are now 116 companies in London committed to paying the Living Wage of £7.85 an hour.

Since the scheme was launched more than 10 years ago, some of the capital’s biggest firms have adjusted their pay levels, helping more than 9,000 people in the process.

The latest batch of signatories include cosmetics giant L’Oreal and and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

“Paying the Living Wage results in higher levels of motivation, loyalty and productivity,” said John Griffith-Jones, chairman of KPMG, one of the first companies to join the scheme.

“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.”