Living Wage Week: Mayor joins calls to make London a 'living wage city'

Sadiq Khan london living campaign

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan launched the London Living Wage campaign in Newham - Credit: Citizens UK/Trust for London

The mayor of London has joined a campaign to make the capital a "living wage city", in a move that would see low-paid workers £635 million better off.

On Monday - November 15 - Sadiq Khan joined community alliance Citizens UK and poverty charity Trust for London to launch the London Living Wage project at The Factory Project in the Royal Docks.

The announcement comes during the 20th anniversary of Living Wage Week, an initiative backed by both organisations which calls on businesses to pay staff a wage that "meets everyday needs."

This campaign argues that the current national living wage - £8.91- should actually be £9.90 across the UK and £11.05 in London.

children with Living wage sign

St Antony's RC School children sang at the launch event - Credit: Citizens UK/Trust for London

Citizens UK executive director Matthew Bolton said: “Twenty years ago, a group of powerful community leaders in east London demanded a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work.

"Despite the campaign securing a pay rise for hundreds and thousands of people, there are still 780,000 jobs in London paying less than the real Living Wage.

"This puts workers and their families in or at risk of poverty, including those on the frontline like care workers and cleaners."

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Trust for London is providing £4.7m of funding to boost the capacity of Citizens UK to organise workers and communities, engage and accredit employers to pay the real Living Wage, and to build further support for its national campaign. 

Mr Bolton believes this cash injection will put "wages back into the pockets of the workers in London who need it the most".

Trust for London chief executive Manny Hothi said: "The funding we are announcing today will boost the movement to new heights, helping lift even more low-wage Londoners out of in-work poverty."

There will be an explicit focus on workers from groups who the campaign said are more likely to experience low pay such as women, young people, migrants, people from ethnic minorities, and those with disabilities.

Workers from racialised groups are disproportionately affected by low pay, according to Living Wage Foundation research.

It shows that across the UK, Black workers are around 50 per cent more likely to earn below the real Living Wage than white workers. 

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