– Jean Lambert MEP to speak at Living Wage rally in Bloomsbury
– Drama and music as campaigners demand justice for low-paid workers
Jean Lambert, London’s Green Party MEP, will make a May Day call for the London Living Wage (LLW). She will join students, staff and union activists from the university colleges in Bloomsbury on a march this Friday 1 May, International Worker’s Day, to call for all employees to be paid a Living Wage, currently £7.45 in London.
The march, organised by the newly-formed Bloomsbury Living Wage Campaign, will stop at each of the educational centres around Russell Square, for speeches, drama and music.
Organisers have planned a special stunt to highlight the contribution low-paid, mainly migrant caterers and cleaners make to London.
The London Living Wage is the minimum hourly rate of pay needed to ensure a decent standard of living, but workers at some Bloomsbury universities are still being paid the minimum wage – just £5.73. Many are forced to take on several jobs simply to make ends meet.
Campaigners have won commitments to pay all staff at least the Living Wage at four London universities – Queen Mary, the London School of Economics, SOAS and most recently Birkbeck. They are hoping for similar success at UCL, the Institute of Education, King’s, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and London Met. They also want the institutions who have adopted the Living Wage to commit to all aspects of the London Living Wage package – not just the minimum salary – including union rights and decent sick and holiday pay.
Jean Lambert MEP, an expert on employment and a longstanding campaigner for worker’s rights, has pressed the European Commission to ensure EU rules support Living Wage policies. She said:
“The Living Wage campaign is one of the most important movements in London, and I’m proud to be joining this march and taking the May Day message of ‘Low pay – no way!’ to the Bloomsbury colleges.
“London’s universities are some of the best education establishments in the world. It’s time they set a similarly high standard for treatment of their staff. The capital is blighted by long hours and low pay, but everyone deserves a decent wage for their time.
“The recession has created difficult times for businesses, but workers should still receive fair treatment. We need justice for all.”
The May Day rally begins at 12 noon on the main steps outside SOAS, at 10 Thornhaugh Street, London (just off Russell Square).
Notes to Editors
The Living Wage is the rate of pay that enables a worker to ensure a decent standard of living for themselves and their families. The London Living Wage Campaign estimates that as many as 400,000 people in the capital are paid less than the living wage. Service sector workers, including cleaners, security guards and caterers, are particularly vulnerable and can also face exploitation.