Paying a living wage
This week (November 5-11) is Living Wage Week and we want to celebrate all of the 118 accredited Living Wage employers in Islington.
The Living Wage – not to be confused with the national minimum wage – is the only wage rate that is voluntarily paid by over 3,500 businesses in the UK, who believe their staff deserve to earn a wage that meets the costs of living.
New Unity, a non-religious church in Islington, is one of the borough’s accredited employers. Minister Andy Pakula explains: “New Unity became an accredited Living Wage employer a few years ago. We chose to bear the extra costs because, in a city as expensive as London, it is simply unjust to pay less. As promoting justice is one of our chief aims – we couldn’t possibly seek justice while being unjust!
He says: “Paying the Living Wage pays for itself. Most Living Wage employers find this to be true. No employee will commit their energy and enthusiasm to an organisation that pays them the least they can get away with.
Julie Parish, of Octopus Communities, a network of multi-purpose community centres across the borough and another Living Wage employer, agrees: “As the cost of living creeps up year-on-year, we believe it is important that people who choose to work with us are rewarded not only with satisfaction that they are doing a great job in local communities, but that they are valued and earn a fair wage.
“We are proud to be employers that are making a stand – that’s one of the reasons we pursued the Living Wage Foundation accreditation. This way we’ve made a public commitment to fair pay,” she says.
Five years ago Islington Council became one of the first local authorities to become a Living Wage employer. A lot has been achieved since then, but efforts continue to ensure as many people as possible are paid the living wage in Islington.