Council urges businesses to pay a living wage

6 November 2017

Southwark Council has written to local businesses, urging them to pay all staff the London Living Wage as part of Living Wage Week.

Southwark is one of only 16 councils in London that are accredited Living Wage employers, meaning we pay a real living wage to all our staff.

However, the council wants to use its contacts with local businesses to spread the positive impacts of paying a real living wage to many more residents.

Currently only 108 Southwark businesses are accredited Living Wage Employers, while 22 per cent of employees in Southwark earn below the London Living wage - higher than the inner London average of 19 per cent.

Cllr Johnson Situ, Cabinet Member for Business, Culture and Social Regeneration, said: “Southwark Council became an accredited Living Wage employer in 2011 which means that we pay all our directly employed staff the Living Wage and promote the Living Wage throughout our supply chain.

“It’s really important to us to ensure that all our employees earn a decent wage, especially with the high cost of living in London. But as well as being the right thing to do, research from the Cardiff Business School shows that paying staff a living wage has a positive impact on businesses. So we are calling on all Southwark employers to consider paying their staff a living wage this Living Wage Week.”

The Cardiff Business School study, The Living Wage Employer Experience, published in April, found that 93 per cent of employers feel they have benefitted from living wage accreditation, through reputational benefits, recruitment and retention, and broader business benefits.

Southwark has also just been named a Friendly Funder council – one of only 6 accredited Friendly Funder local authorities nationally. This means we support charities to pay the real Living Wage through our grants, to help end low pay in the charity sectors.

Katherine Chapman, Director, Living Wage Foundation said: “We are delighted to recognise Southwark Council as a Living Wage Friendly Funder. The leadership shown demonstrates a commitment to tackling the serious problems that low pay brings to our communities. 

"Many organisations in the voluntary and community sectors are working hard to tackle social injustice and poverty; it’s only right that those committed to these roles are afforded at least a Living Wage. We hope to see many more funders and corporates follow the lead of Southwark and the other Living Wage Friendly Funders.

"At a time when half of those in poverty live in a household where someone has a job, the real Living Wage is much needed by families across the UK. The Living Wage is a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.”

Page last updated: 08 November 2017