PRESS RELEASE: Living Wage Campaign meet Tesco CEO Philip Clarke

PR: New Tesco boss urged to pay Living Wage by 7 year old activist

PRESS RELEASE

for immediate release

THURSDAY 21st APRIL 2011

NEW TESCO BOSS URGED TO PAY LIVING WAGE BY 7 YEAR OLD ACTIVIST

Photos: http://bit.ly/hPbk3p

The new Chief Executive of Tesco, Philip Clarke, had a chance encounter yesterday when he was challenged in one of his stores by a seven year old boy about the low pay received by Tesco cleaners.  Lucas Pinto, of community organisation Citizens UK, gave Mr Clarke an Easter Egg and asked him to pay his cleaners a Living Wage. Philip Clarke agreed to “think about it.”

More than 50 local people from Citizens UK, some dressed as the Easter Bunny, were giving Easter Eggs and flowers to Tesco workers and customers at the Tesco Metro store in Covent Garden, to call for Tesco cleaners to be paid a Living Wage. Philip Clarke, who was doing press interviews in the store at the time, came face to face with Lucas and other Citizens UK activists.

Lucas Pinto, a seven year old Citizens UK activist, said:

“I shook his hand and explained about the Living Wage. He seemed quite busy but pleased to see me. My impression of him was he was quiet and sensible. I felt very excited that he said he would think about it.”

Andy Hull, a Citizens UK activist, said:

“Lucas and I were in the aisle, giving shop staff and customers Easter eggs and talking with them about the Living Wage campaign. Then, who should walk around the corner but Philip Clarke himself. I clocked who he was and Lucas thrust a cream egg in his direction. We introduced ourselves before Lucas explained what the campaign was about: trying to get Tesco to pay all its staff – including its contracted cleaners and security - at least the Living Wage.”

The Living Wage is the calculated as the minimum needed for a worker to provide for their family. In London, it is set by Mayor Boris Johnson and currently stands at £7.85/hr. The national Living Wage is £7.20/hr. Tesco cleaners only get £5.96/hr, on their 5am shifts.

Recent media interviews with Clarke have indicated that he thinks Tesco’s brand is respected but not loved and hinted that he wants the company under his leadership to have a softer image.

Andy Hulls adds:

“I suggested that a great way for Tesco to earn people’s love back would be to become the first supermarket to pay everyone who works in its stores the Living Wage. We gave him a leaflet about the campaign and said no-one should do a hard day’s work for less than they can live on. He said he’d think about it.”

Local schools and churches that are members of Citizens UK have conducted similar playful actions in Tesco stores in Hackney and Lambeth and others are planned across the capital and the country over the coming weeks.

Notes to Editors:

1.       Andy Hull is available for interview.

2.       Lucas Pinto is available for telephone interview (he is off to DisneyLand Paris).

3.       Photos of the action are available including of Mr Clarke meeting Lucas and Andy, in the aisle at Covent Garden Tesco.

4.       The London Living Wage is endorsed by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and is currently £7.85 an hour. The Living Wage for the rest of the UK is £7.20 an hour. Many Tesco cleaners are paid just over the minimum wage of £5.93.

5.       Philip Clarke took over from Sir Terry Leahy as Chief Executive of Tesco in March 2011. On Tuesday Tesco announced record profits of £3.8bn, an increase of 12% on the previous year.

6.       Lush announced this week it would be the first Living Wage employer in the retail sector, see here: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23943080-lush-founder-becomes-first-store-boss-to-pledge-living-wage-of-pound-785.do .

7.       The Living Wage campaign began in 2001 after London Citizens began campaigning for a rate of pay that allowed people to maintain a basic standard of living. The campaign has won over £70m for 10,000 low paid workers.

8.       Current Living Wage employers include KPMG, Westfield, Queen Mary University London, Greater London Authority, Transport for London, Barclays, Linklaters, PWC, and more than one hundred others.

9.       Citizens UK is the country’s largest alliance of civil society organisations working together for the common good. More information at www.citizensuk.org.

10.   For more information please contact Stefan Baskerville on 07952694651.

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Posted in All, Citizens UK, Citizens UK in the Press, Community Organising, Living Wage Campaign, London Citizens, Press Release