LIVING WAGE MILESTONE: 10,000 EMPLOYERS PAYING THE REAL LIVING WAGE TO SUPPORT STAFF WITH COST OF LIVING  

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  • Over 10,000 UK employers are now accredited with the Living Wage Foundation, nearly half (over 4,500) of whom have signed up since March 2020 
  • Latest names to sign up include organisations like the Royal Albert Hall and the Fed; 
  • New research shows the Living Wage campaign has put over £1.8 billion in extra wages in the pockets of low paid workers since the campaign started 20 years ago; 
  • 1 in 13 UK workers now work for a Living Wage Employer; 
  • Despite these successes, millions are struggling with rising prices, including 1 in 6 workers (4.8 million) still paid below the real Living Wage. 

UK employers are responding to the highest levels of inflation seen in decades by signing up to pay the real Living Wage in record numbers, with the Living Wage Foundation today announcing that it has reached the milestone of 10,000 Living Wage Employers.  

The Royal Albert Hall and The Fed are both among major employers who have been accredited in the last financial quarter. They join household names like IKEA, National Express, Aviva, Burberry, Everton and Liverpool football clubs, over half the FTSE 100 and thousands of small and medium-sized businesses from coffee shops to removal firms. 

Living Wage Employers commit to paying all staff – including contracted workers – the independently calculated rate, currently set at £9.90 in the UK and £11.05 in London. The real Living Wage is calculated annually, using the best available data at the time and taking into consideration the cost of food, bills, and rent.  Nearly half (over 4,500) of Living Wage Employers signed up since March 2020. 

Nearly 350,000 people are paid a real Living Wage in the UK and, according to new research from Cardiff Business School, the movement has put over £1.8bn in extra wages for low paid workers in this period. 1 in 13 UK workers now work for a Living Wage Employer.  

Today’s announcement comes as millions struggle with rising prices, including the 1 in 6 workers (4.8 million) still paid below the real Living Wage.  

Katherine Chapman, Living Wage Foundation Director, said:
“Reaching 10,000 Living Wage Employers is an historic milestone for the Living Wage movement. Since the campaign’s beginnings 20 years ago, Living Wage accreditation has become a benchmark of responsible business in the UK, shaping the debate on low pay and changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of people across the country with a wage that delivers dignity.  

As inflation hits new highs, the Living Wage movement is more vital than ever. We are facing the worst income squeeze on record and no one will feel it more sharply than the nearly 5 million people in low paid and insecure jobs, already struggling on tight budgets. It’s crucial that employers who can afford it protect those who will be most affected by price rises by paying a wage based on the cost of living.” 

Craig Hassall, Chief Executive Officer of Royal Albert Hall, said:
“I am absolutely thrilled that the Royal Albert Hall has been accredited as an official Living Wage Employer. Whilst we have been paying our own staff the equivalent of the London Living Wage for some time, to be officially endorsed means that now all of our workers and those that work with us through contractors will be properly and fairly compensated for their efforts. The London Living Wage is an independently calculated rate that ensures workers can meet the capital’s cost of living. The rate is also updated annually. 

Many employers say that their staff are their greatest asset, and at the Hall this is especially the case. Whenever anybody writes in to comment about their experience of coming to the Hall, it is always a member of staff who makes them feel special, who goes the extra mile to make sure they have a wonderful experience, who looks them in the eye and shows them that they matter. We know that staff who feel supported at work provide the best experiences for our customers and visitors to the Hall, and paying the London Living Wage is a way for us to demonstrate to our staff that we really value them.  

We pay all of our employees the London Living Wage and we are now on a path to ensure that all of our partners also pay the London or Living Wage. This is a fundamental right, irrespective of who signs your pay cheque!” 

Mark Cunningham, Chief Executive Officer of The Fed, said:
“For us as a charity it’s a landmark moment. We believe, certainly from working over the last two years through a pandemic, that the people who work in social care are heroes – all the time. It’s a difficult job. It’s an amazing job. And we wanted to make sure that we were alongside other employers in Greater Manchester in paying the Real Living Wage. 

In Bury, I think we are one in about 20 employers, and we are hoping to see that increase, We’re setting the example; we’re leading the way and … I’m really proud of this fact – It’s something we’ve been working towards for two or three years. 

It’s a brave step and we need to work increasingly hard to earn the money to cover this investment but it’s something we, myself and the board of trustees and directors and managers absolutely believe in.” 

Paul Connolly, a porter and driver earning the real Living Wage at The Fed, said:
“Earning more per year has made me feel more comfortable with the bills. Petrol and food has gone sky high! So I would definitely say it’s helped ease some financial worries” 

Gavin Ryan, a Living Wage worker at Anchor Removals, said:
“When I started working for Anchor 10 years ago, the wages were poor and we were struggling. I found it really hard. Our Managing Director Chris changed us to a Living Wage Employer in 2016, as he had always said when we got through the tough times he would look after us and he has.  

Now, I have stability and job security, and the wages are helping me start to look for a new home as I still currently live with my mum. I can also look after my daughter and buy her the things she needs. During the pandemic, my partner Nic lost her job as a travel consultant and went to work for a supermarket. Her hours and pay were not great, but because I was earning the Living Wage with guaranteed hours, I knew I could support her. It was a life saver.” 

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