IT’S TIME for King’s to become a more responsible employer.
Roar!‘s London Living Wage campaign forces us to look at the reality of many struggling to survive in one of world’s richest cities and question how we want our university, and the city it inhabits, to work in the 21st century.
The wage accounts for the higher cost of living in the capital and gives low paid workers the ability to afford shelter, clothing, nutrition, utilities, healthcare and a small level of recreation.
The LLW is worked out by the Greater London Authority and currently stands at £8.80, £2.49 higher than the national minimum wage.
Busy inflating their ego
Although paying the LLW is not a legal requirement, it has received support from politicians across the political spectrum and has been adopted by a number of large companies.
Employers who have adopted the LLW, such as KPMG, Barclays and Oxfam, have reported rises in productivity. Workers spend less time dealing with financial worries and are more motivated to work.
Originally KCL agreed with Boris Johnson, Ed Miliband and the 277 employers paying the living wage. But while busy inflating their ego by buying wings of Somerset house, the management forgot its pledge to the lowest paid within our institution.
And now they defend the contradictory logic of paying everyone the university employs directly a living wage while working with third party contractors that do not.
If London is truly the greatest city in the world, who is going to be allowed to enjoy the city’s benefits? Too many are not enjoying the economic growth of the capital because they are struggling on an inadequate income to keep up with the rising cost of living.
London can make a bold statement in the interest of fairness and productivity and guarantee every worker a wage they can live on.
For this to happen, companies and institutions will have to lead the way by abandoning a race to the bottom in wages and providing their employees with enough to live on.
It’s time for King’s to step up to its own mantle as a globally renowned institution and re-affirm its commitment to the living wage and become one of the pioneers in creating a fairer and richer London enjoyed by all.