Today marks the start of National Living Wage Week.
As Dave Prentis and David Miliband wrote in the Guardian on Saturday, the living wage is in everyone’s interests, and it was fantastic to hear Ed Miliband yesterday calling for all businesses to pay it to their staff.
Paying the living wage has been shown to increase productivity in the workplace. It also saves the Treasury money in tax credits. More importantly, it ensures that people earn enough money to live on.
With Tory cuts hitting vulnerable people hard, it was recently found that one in seven children goes without a hot meal as money runs out before pay day. No one should be in this position. People deserve a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work, and hot meals should not be a luxury for anyone.
I’m proud of the Labour councils around the country that have signed up to pay the living wage and I hope that more will follow.
We need to be encouraging businesses to pay the living wage, too. UNISON has been running a great campaign to get the living wage implemented in work places. (You can find out about how to get involved here: http://www.unison.org.uk/livingWage/index.asp.)
Labour Students have been campaigning on campuses across the country and have seen some real successes; Kent University, Manchester University and De Montfort University have now committed to paying their staff the living wage. My university students’ union recently gained accreditation for paying the living wage, after our Labour club approached them about it. This is an ongoing campaign and one that will hopefully provide even more success stories. Information and resources to help you run your own campaign on campus are available here: http://www.labourstudents.org.uk/livingwage.
We may not be in government but we can make things fairer on a local level. We must keep pushing for this change and put an end to poverty pay.