Campaigning for a living wage

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2012 National Delegate Conference
27 February 2012

UNISON continues to support the campaign for a living wage recognising that the National Minimum Wage is not sufficient and that the living wage takes into account the real cost of living and is independently calculated.

In London the London Living Wage is set annually by the Greater London Authority (the current hourly rate is £8.30). The living wage outside London is set independently and the current hourly is £7.20.

Conference welcomes those public sector bodies that have introduced the Living Wage or London Living Wage. However the Conference congratulates those organisations that have gone further such as London Borough of Islington and insisted that their contracted and sub contracted employees also pay a London Living Wage.

Conference notes that Citizens UK have developed an accreditation process that requires that all employees including those contracted and sub contracted, who are providing a service for the main employee are to be paid a living wage. Currently only a small number of private sector employers have signed up. Citizens UK are now trying to roll this out to the public sector.

UNISON continues to campaign for public service to be run by accountable public bodies and that services which have been privatised to be brought back in house. That understood, it should not preclude us from campaigning for a living wage in contracted out companies and indeed on some occasions when this has been won such as for cleaners in Queen Mary College and in Islington has led to services coming back in house.

Conference resolves to:

1) call on National Executive Council to campaign for all public sector bodies to pay the living wage;

2) issue advice to all bargaining groups and branches that are negotiating pay at a local level and ask them to include the living wage/London living wage in any pay claims;

3) campaign alongside Citizens UK to call on public sector employees to pay the living wage to all its contractor and sub contractors, and to sign up and become accredited ensuring an ongoing compliance to paying a living wage.

4) highlight examples of good practise by publishing and circulating information about employers that have been accredited by Citizens UK;

5) lobby and provide advice on the legal issues around public sector contracts being bound by a Living Wage clause;

6) support campaigns against individual employers that might involve lobbying shareholder meeting and embarrassing companies in the press by highlighting the differential between the lowest paid members of staff and the highest;

7) support branches organising lawful industrial action on or around pay and specifically to achieve a minimum of a Living Wage;

8) to continue to campaign for privatised services to be brought back in house and paid reasonable terms and conditions including at least a Living Wage;

9) campaign for a change in Best Value legislation so an employer’s procurement policy can allow for a minimum level of terms and conditions including ensuring that a minimum of a Living Wage is paid across the board;

10) campaign for all legal barriers, perceived or otherwise to be removed from public sector bodies in regard to paying all employees (included contracted and subcontracted a Living Wage);

11) work with Labour Link to influence Labour Party policy in regard to the above including lobbying and providing advice to councillors, MP’s, MSP’s and AM’s.