Haringey Liberal Democrats are celebrating after getting cross-party support for a motion to ensure that all Haringey Council’s workers will be paid the London Living Wage. The motion was unanimously adopted by a meeting of Haringey’s Full Council on the evening of Monday 16th July.
The result of the motion is that by November of this year, the Council will become accredited as a Living Wage Employer by the Living Wage Foundation. This will mean that the Council must pay all its staff at least £10.20 an hour. In addition, it must demonstrate that it is working to ensure that anyone contracted to work on Council premises or contracting to the Council will be paid at least the London Living Wage. This will likely involve phasing in requirements to this effect into contracts for outsourced services like cleaning and social care.
The North London borough is one of the last local authorities in London to seek accreditation. A situation that Cllr Dawn Barnes (LD – Crouch End) who proposed the motion was keen to rectify:
"It is only right that the council, as the largest employer in the borough, leads by example. Evidence shows that where a council leads with Living Wage accreditation, others follow.
"Our accredited Labour neighbours in Hackney have 80 accredited businesses and Islington is approaching 150. Meanwhile Haringey languishes behind with just 20 accredited employers, barely beating unaccredited Conservative Barnet who have 11."
The motion as passed:
Becoming a Living Wage Employer
- The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings by the Office of National Statistics, showed that 34% of Haringey residents are living in poverty.
- That the Living Wage Foundation recommends that to enable their employees to “meet their basic needs and participate in society at a minimum level”, employers in London should pay each member of staff at least £10.20 an hour.
- That six current members of Haringey Council (including the Leader) attended an event organised by Citizens UK and pledged to make Haringey Council a Living Wage accredited employer.
- That 92 local authorities are accredited Living Wage employers. Among their number are the GLA and six of the seven boroughs that border Haringey.
- That Haringey has just 20 businesses that are London Living Wage accredited compared to 132 in Islington and 80 in Hackney.
- The Office for National Statistics 2017 Labour Force survey highlighted the advantages of Trade Union membership, with wages being between 16.7% and 7.1% higher, on average, for Public and Private sector employees, respectively.
- That low pay is a major problem in Haringey, London and the UK.
- That given the high costs of housing, public transport and childcare in Haringey, the statutory minimum wage rates are not adequate to enable someone to maintain a decent standard of living whilst residing in this borough, even if they work full-time.
- That as the local authority, Haringey Council should provide leadership and set an example for other employers in the borough.
- That improvements in hourly rates of pay should not come at the expense of other terms and conditions or other staff benefits.
- That membership of a Trade Union provides the best way for workers to improve their terms and conditions via collective organising.
- To be accredited by the Living Wage Foundation as ‘Living Wage Employer’ in time for London Living Wage week (4th-10th November 2018). In order to achieve this, all directly employed staff must continue to be paid above the London Living Wage. In addition, arrangements must be made for the phased implementation of the London Living Wage for anyone employed by a contractor who regularly works on council premises or on premises necessary for the work of the council to be carried out.
- That the same standard should be expected of ALMO and other entities, over which the Council has control (for example, the proposed wholly owned company for housing development).
- That where the Council has representation on outside bodies, it should use that influence to advocate for paying a Living Wage and for recognition of a Trade Unions rights to organise in the workplace.
- That the council will consider the ability of workers to collectively organise via a workplace recognised Trade Union when procuring council supplied services via contractors, ALMOs or other means.
- Work with the Living Wage Foundation and Trade Unions in order to encourage other business in Haringey to become Living Wage accredited employers and to recognise the right of workers to organise collectively in Trade Unions.