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Ealing Council makes plans to grow number of London Living Wage employers in the borough

Ealing Council has said it is aiming to make Ealing a “Living Wage place” by requiring that any business who wishes to work with the Council and employs staff on contracts with the Council pays at least the London Living Wage which is £11.95 an hour by 2023.

It is also encouraging more businesses and organisations that employ people to commit to becoming accredited and pay at a minimum £11.95 in 2023.

Currently it is £11.05 and becomes a requirement from May 2023 for employers to be accredited with Living Wage status. According to worker rights campaigners, some employers have started to offer the additional uplift already depending on their budgets.

At the Ealing Living Wage Celebration on Monday (14 November 2022) which took place at Southall Community College, hosted in partnership with Ealing Citizens, the Labour-run Council stated its intentions for Living Wage across Ealing.

Ealing Council leader, Councillor Peter Mason said: “This is a significant step forward in delivering the council objectives of creating good jobs and tackling inequality. Since July, we’re requiring that businesses who wish to work with Ealing Council ensure that their staff employed on contracts with us are paid the London Living Wage as a minimum.”

One of the first groups of workers to benefit from the increase is home care workers.

Councillor Mason added: “We’re enormously proud of this uplift, which will make a huge difference to the lives of home care workers in Ealing.”

Councillor Josh Blacker, cabinet member for healthy lives said: “This is an important step forward in fulfilling our pledge to fix social care and support the wellbeing of home care workers and the valuable work they do. The uplift comes as part of our pledge to invest an additional £8 million in adult social care, ensuring workers providing care to residents in their own home will finally be paid the Real Living Wage (RLW).”

In 2013, the Council itself became a Living Wage employer for its own employed staff. Over recent years, this become an issue when it was discovered that despite working for the council, Ealing school dinner ladies and men were not getting a London Living Wage as they were indirectly employed.

Following a campaign in 2021 by Michael Milne, founder of Ealing Living Wage Alliance, the school catering staff were eventually paid a Living Wage by their employers.

Ealing Council has previously embarked in Living Wage initiatives. In 2016, Councillor Mason was Living Wage Champion for Ealing Council as part of his cabinet responsibilities. In 2016, there were 14 employers signed up to the scheme, today it is 45.

An Ealing Council spokesperson told EALING.NEWS: “In 2016, there were 14 businesses, and this number has more than tripled to 45 Real Living Wage compliant businesses in the borough. The Council aspires to reach the target of 200 by 2025. To encourage more Ealing employers to pay the Real Living Wage, the council offers a business rate discount of up to £2,000 to those that become a living wage accredited.””

They added: “As part of our plan for Good Jobs, the council has made it a priority to increase Living Wage Employers in Ealing to 200. We have at least 45 employers in the borough, and we have already achieved ‘Good Business Charter’ accreditation, for our responsible business practices.”

The Ealing Council spokesperson further explained the care workers uplift: “In May 2022, the council set out proposals to invest £8 million into adult social care, ensuring workers providing care to residents in their own home could finally be paid the Real Living Wage. Ahead of schedule, and faced with a cost-of-living crisis, £2 million will be invested annually to pay for the uplift from 14 November onwards. This means home care workers employed by the council will receive a minimum hourly rate of £11.05 per hour, rising to £11.95 from 1 April 2023. This rise is in line with the Real Living Wage announcement made on 22 September, providing guidance to employers to implement the new rate of £11.95 by 14 May 2023.”

Ealing Liberal Democrat Councillor Andrew Steed, spokesperson for Caring Services told EALING.NEWS that not all care workers will get the uplift.

He said: “Liberal Democrats want all employers in Ealing to pay the Living Wage and we have been working with community groups in Ealing to campaign for more employees to be paid the Living Wage. We are disappointed though with Ealing Council that bed based care and day services are not included in the wage increases for the next three and a half years.”

Speaking to EALING.NEWS, Ealing Living Wage Alliance founder Michael Milne welcomed the progress being made: “The Ealing Living Wage Celebration last night, hosted by Ealing Citizens UK and Ealing Council, brought together local communities and elected representatives to reaffirm their desire to improve the pay of Ealing constituents.”

Mr Milne added: “Council Leader Mason and Councillor Mahfouz reflected the powerful testimony of community voices reiterating Ealing Councils commitment to the London Living Wage, extending their ambition to 200 accredited Living Wage employers across our Borough. Ealing home-care workers will from today receive the London Living Wage as the Council sets a positive example to other local employers.”

Mr Milne said he is looking forward to seeing 200 employers becoming accredited across Ealing. “The energy in the room last night and the active participation of so many Ealing Labour councillors, at both this celebration and at the launch of the “Making London a Living Wage City Action Plan” at the Barbican earlier in the day, bode well for success in achieving 200 accredited employers. Ealing constituents must now persuade its major employers, such as London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust and University of West London, to join us in this ambition and improve the lives of our boroughs workers.”

Alex Hallawell, head of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) at West London College, said: ” As a member of Citizens UK, West London College was delighted to work with Ealing Citizens and Ealing Council on the London Living Wage campaign. Several of our students took an active role in leading the event alongside the councillors which is fantastic for their education as well as for developing their self-confidence and public speaking skills.”

Ealing Green Party chair Neil Reynolds told EALING.NEWS: “The increasing number of businesses that are being accredited for delivering the living wage in Ealing is welcome. It will make a difference to hundreds if not thousands of employees across the borough, and will in the long run help Ealing to be a fairer and more prosperous place. Nationally the Greens are the only political party committed to the introduction of a universal basic income, that has worked well in countries such as Finland. It would tackle and poverty and inequality faster and more effectively than minimum wage initiatives. None the less it is right the council is taking this action and continues to do so.”

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