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Ealing Living Wage Alliance founder Michael Milne writes about Ealing Council’s failures to implement Living Wage pay when it promised it would

As GMB union members who work for Ealing Council’s in-house refuse, recycling, street cleaning and grounds maintenance company Greener Ealing Ltd (GEL) are to vote on taking strike action over low pay, Michael Milne, founder of Ealing Living Wage Alliance writes about the failure of Ealing Council and how it hasn’t paid many of its workers a London Living Wage when it promised it would.

The formation of Greener Ealing Ltd brought the waste collection service in our Borough under direct council control in July 2020 and all workers became ‘direct employees’. Under the Living Wage Foundation Accreditation License of 2014, signed by then Council Leader Julian Bell, this meant these 350 workers immediately received the London Living Wage.

Ealing Living Wage Alliance believe that workers subcontracted to Ealing Council, not supported by Trades Union representation and often women and from minority groups have been ignored by Ealing Council and the conditions of the 2014 Living Wage Foundation Accreditation License have been broken.

In 2020 Ealing Living Wage Alliance successfully campaigned with Ealing UNISON to force the long overdue payment of the Living Wage to School Catering Workers.

Our concern is that Ealing Labour are now, as Councillor Josh Blacker recently announced, attempting to rebrand the 2014 promise as a new ‘plan to fix social care’. It isn’t a new plan, it’s an old Living Wage Foundation License obligation that has been brushed under the carpet since 2014 and now postponed until 2026. That is a disgrace and, as this economic crisis deepens, a direct breach of trust.

Ealing Living Wage Alliance were assured things would improve after Councillor Bell’s removal. However, the stench of his legacy still lingers over this Council and the promises he made, and broke, still impoverish our most needy constituents.

Ealing Labour has recently awarded Councillors an increase in allowances and improved the remuneration package for the chief executive.

We have written to Ealing councillors and Virendra Sharma MP for clarification of the position of Ealing Labour and await their response.

The 2014 Living Wage License Agreement conditions must be upheld, some 8 years after Councillor Bell’s signature, or Ealing Councils status as a Living Wage Accredited Borough must be revoked.

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