On Wednesday 24 June members of The East London Community Organisers (TELCO), part of national community organising charity, Citizens UK, called on London City Airport to pay cleaners the London Living Wage. TELCO members will join University of East London students on the London Scholars civic engagement programme to persuade airport management to ensure that cleaners who are employed externally are paid the Living Wage, currently £9.15 per hour for London.
In 2014, 3.65 million passengers travelled through London City Airport which employs over 2,000 people, many who are local residents. While directly employed staff are paid the London Living Wage, externally employed staff are paid less. Barbara Davis who has worked as a cleaner at London City Airport for 17 years, highlights how hard it is to live on low wages.
“I’ll be 68 next year and I won’t be able to retire because I have no savings. All my wages are spent on surviving. Rents are increasing and the cost of living is rising and it’s not just me. We’re all struggling to survive."
Emmanuel Gotora, Lead Organiser for TELCO said,
"As one of the largest private sector employers in Newham, we call on London City Airport to lend its powerful voice to the London Living Wage campaign, and help lift low-paid cleaners out of working poverty. It is good for business, good for families, and good for society.”
The London Living Wage Campaign was launched by London Citizens in 2001. The founders were parents in the East End of London, who wanted to remain in work, but found that despite working two or more minimum wage jobs, they were struggling to make ends meet and were left with no time for family and community life. Since then, the Living Wage campaign has impacted tens of thousands of employees and put over £210 million into the pockets of some of the lowest paid workers in the UK. There are now over 1,500 accredited Living Wage employers across the UK.
Principal lecturer at the University of East London, Dr Tim Hall said:
“With in-work benefits about to be cut back, it is absolutely vital that firms that can pay their employees the living wage, do so. We want to encourage the airport to do the right thing. By our calculations London City Airport could become a living wage employer by raising its air fares by just one penny.”