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London Living Wage to be paid to council cleaners and security staff

Some of Lambeth’s lowest paid workers are to have their wages increased after Lambeth Council agreed a new contract for cleaning, maintenance and security services.

The move comes as Lambeth has declared its intention to be a London Living Wage Council.

Lambeth Council already pays the London Living Wage to all staff that it directly employs, and was among the first London borough’s to introduce such a policy when it did so in 2006. Shortly after 2006 some existing contracts were renegotiated to bring the pay of contracted staff doing the same job up to the same level as direct employees of the council.

The London Living Wage is a voluntary scheme for employers that sees them paying their staff at a high rate that the National Minimum Wage, due to the higher costs of living in the capital.

Now Lambeth has selected a new facilities management contractor, Balfour Beatty, that makes sure that their staff who work indirectly for the council in roles including cleaners, repairs and security staff get the same benefits.

The council made payment of the Living Wage a fundamental requirement during the contract bidding process.

The move will affect more than 150 staff. It was agreed at a meeting of the council’s cabinet last night (9 July 2012).

The London Living Wage is currently £8.30 an hour, compared to the National Minimum Wage of £6.08 an hour.

Cllr Steve Reed, Leader of Lambeth Council, said:

“We are declaring our ambition to become a London Living Wage Council. Despite the government cutting Lambeth’s funding by nearly a third over a four year period, we are continuing to work with our contractors, our staff and with South London Citizens in order to ensure the pay for our contracted staff is at least the London Living Wage. We are proud that Lambeth has recently agreed a new contractor who will provide cleaning, security and repairs for council owned buildings and some local schools paid the London Living Wage as a minimum. This increase in pay for workers on low incomes will deliver real improvements in their quality of life, provide greater dignity in work and put more money into the local economy.”

“We look forward to continuing to work with local businesses, council contractors, South London Citizens and our wider community with the aim to both extend the London Living Wage to our contracted staff and better employment prospects to many more Lambeth residents.”

Sarfraz Jeraj, Chair of Lambeth Citizens said:

“We congratulate Cllr Steve Reed and Lambeth Council for their pledge to become a fully accredited Living Wage Employer. Our member communities in Lambeth are delighted with the leadership shown by the council. This bold step will make a huge difference to the lives of hard working families in Lambeth. We look forward to seeing the Living Wage Employer Mark proudly displayed at council buildings across the borough.”

Editors’ notes:

The UK Living Wage Campaign was launched by members of London Citizens in 2001

The London Living Wage is currently £8.30 per hour.

The figure is set annually by the Greater London Authority

Employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis.

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