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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Jean calls upon FTSE 100 to become Living Wage employers

Green MEP for London, Jean Lambert, has written to the UK’s top private sector companies urging them to commit to paying a Living Wage to all employees, a move which could potentially lift hundreds of thousands of low paid staff out of working poverty {1}.

It is estimated that there are some 3.5 million people in the UK over the age of 22 earning less than £7 an hour.  In London alone, over 470,000 people work in low-paid positions.  In stark contrast, Britain’s largest listed companies are continuing to post healthy profits, with the Lloyds Banking Group reporting profits of £2.2 billion in recent months.

Jean’s appeal coincides with the annual upgrading of the National Minimum Wage, which takes place on the 1st of October. Campaign group FairPensions, who are heading the call upon the FTSE 100 to pay workers the Living Wage, state that the NMW rate does not provide low earners with nearly enough money for a decent standard of living, having a detrimental impact on family and community life {2}.

Jean, a member of the European Parliament Employment and Social Affairs Committee, said: “The application of Living Wage standards by employers such as KPMG and the Greater London Authority have helped to lift over 8,000 people out of working poverty across the capital, yet there are still millions of workers waiting to be rescued from a life on low pay.  Whilst the National Minimum Wage has helped improve the lives of some of Britain’s lowest paid employees, it remains well below what someone needs for an acceptable living standard.

“Adoption of the Living Wage by FTSE 100 companies would embed the principles of ethical pay across both London and the UK and could help trigger a fair pay revolution, resulting in a decent wage for all employees. As the largest listed companies in the country, members of the FTSE 100 are in the position to be able to lead by example and have the clout to influence other employers. I urge FTSE CEOs to help change the lives of thousands of low paid workers by introducing the Living Wage without delay.”

Louise Rouse, Director of Engagement at FairPensions, said:

“Since the launch of our campaign a number of FTSE 100s have confirmed their commitment to the Living Wage. We’re hoping to see more of Britain’s biggest companies sign up and reap the benefits of increased productivity and staff retention while providing their workers with wages that allow them a decent standard of living.”

Notes to Editors

1. The Living Wage is the minimum hourly wage necessary for a worker to provide their family with the essentials of life, such as housing, food and other basic needs. The London Living Wage is calculated annually by the Greater London Assembly and currently stands at £8.30 an hour.

2. As of the 1st October 2011, the National Minimum Wage for workers aged 21 or over will be £6.08, compared to the London Living Wage of £8.30.

3. Jean is pictured with Matthew Butcher from FairPensions.  To find out more about FairPensions, please visit: