Living Wage Whitehall League Table Reveals Poverty Pay Rates
Today we revealed the 2015 Living Wage Whitehall League Table, showing which government departments pay their staff a London Living Wage and which are keeping pay at the statutory minimum wage rate.
HMRC and DEFRA are once again languishing at the bottom of the league table, paying staff £6.50 per hour, whilst other departments such as DECC are accredited Living Wage employers ensuring all their staff, including sub-contracted workers like cleaners and security staff, are paid at a rate that is calculated to ensure they earn enough to live on.
Citizens UK member, Canon Dr Angus Ritchie, St Peter’s Bethnal Green, said:
“This morning we are gathering in solidarity and support of the Whitehall cleaners. Together we have been campaigning for a Living Wage for those who currently work on poverty rates across the Whitehall Departments.
“We welcome the new higher minimum wage rate that the Chancellor announced in the Budget. It’s a huge step, but we have been working with the Mayor of London for seven years and there’s a London Living Wage rate that recognises the higher costs in the capital. That rate is currently £9.15 per hour. The changes announced to the minimum wage will not help the 586,000 Londoners for whom even the 2020 rate announced today would not be enough to live on now.
“Included in those 586,000 are those colleagues of George Osborne and his cabinet ministers who clean the corridors of power. Today we call on those departments to meet with their cleaners, hear about life on low pay in the capital and then consider implementing the Living Wage.”
Cleaners from a range of Whitehall departments, and their supporters from Citizens UK member churches, mosques, synagogues, schools and colleges in London, gathered together in Parliament Square at 8am, Tuesday 21 st July, to unveil the updated Living Wage Whitehall League Table. They then walked to some of the worst offending departments where they handed in letters to the Ministers as well as books of testimony, featuring real-life stories of the cleaners from the department that detail the struggles of living on low pay in the capital.
Whitehall Cleaner, Maria explains:
“Life on low pay is very difficult. I share a one bedroom flat with my daughter. Everything is expensive, especially rent and a travel card. I miss spending time with my family and friends. Low pay makes it hard.
“I have to miss parties. If you go to a birthday, you have to bring food or wine. I can't afford that. Because my place is so small I can't return the invitation so I don't go. It is better I don't go. I don't mind missing parties now. I used to feel lonely.
“My life here is working, commuting and sleeping. I don't have time to go out or spend time with friends. I don't have that kind of life now.”
Whilst Whitehall Cleaner, John said:
“I work two jobs but still life is very hard. I leave home at 4am and get back at around 9pm. I work six days a week, but sometimes, if we need more money because of a high bill, then I will work seven days.
“I think if you can work, you should work hard. I am lucky, I have my health so I can work, some people can’t, and they are the people who need help from the government.
“But even though I work hard, I struggle to make enough for my family to live on because of low wages. The job I do is paid at the minimum wage rate; it’s not enough to cover the cost of living in London. I don’t get to spend enough time with my children. They are teenagers; they need their dad around to help them, to stop them taking bad decisions. But I need to work two jobs to cover the basics like rent and food. There’s no time left to spend with them. The London Living Wage would mean I can be a better dad.”
Even when the new higher minimum wage rate comes into force John will still be earning £1.95 an hour less than the recognised London Living Wage. He will still need to work long hours at two jobs to make ends meet.
Whitehall Living Wage League Table
Hourly rate of pay 2015
Department of Energy and Climate Change
Her Majesty's Treasury
Supreme Court of the UK
House of Commons
House of Lords
The bread line
Department for International Development
Department of Work and Pensions
Iain Duncan Smith
Department of Education
Department of Health
Department of Business, Innovation and Skills
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
For media enquiries please contact: Stefan Baskerville Citizens UK m 07952694651