We know water companies can afford to become accredited Living Wage Employers. Four companies (South East Water, Scottish Water, Northumbrian Water and Yorkshire Water) are already accredited Living Wage employers and a number of others are considering taking this step. Our campaign is about giving them a firm nudge in the right direction.
Research from the New Policy Institute found that less than 10% of employees in the water industry were paid below the Living Wage in 2014. At the same time profits in the industry have been soaring. The 18 privately owned water companies in England and Wales had retained excess profits of £1.2bn over the past five years.
We are asking all Members of Parliament to sign the cross party Early Day Motion 1185, which calls on companies to pay the Living Wage.
UNISON was among the first organisations in the country to support the Living Wage, arguing for its implementation in national and sector-wide pay bargaining, local campaigns and as part of its submissions to the Low Pay Commission during the process of setting the National Minimum Wage.
Across the UK, there are now almost 2,000 employers accredited as Living Wage employers by the Living Wage Foundation, including some of the largest private companies in the UK, such as Barclays, HSBC, and IKEA. Over a quarter of the FTSE 100 companies are now accredited.
UNISON will be launching its campaign, with all the information about which companies are accredited (or seeking accreditation) and those who are not, at a parliamentary reception on 20th April 2016.