The Living Wage campaign
Everyone needs a decent standard of living to thrive.
Be part of a movement that’s bringing people, businesses and communities together across the UK, to win the real Living Wage and end the injustice of in-work poverty.
Launched by Citizens UK in 2001, the Living Wage campaign has won over £2 billion of additional wages, lifting hundreds of thousands of people out of working poverty. We’re campaigning to ask every employer to step up and accredit with the Living Wage Foundation, ensuring that all internal and contracted staff, from cleaners, to security guards to catering staff, get paid at least the real Living Wage.
The Living Wage is an hourly rate, calculated according to cost of living in the UK by the Living Wage Foundation. The UK Living Wage is currently £12 per hour. The London Living Wage is currently £13.15 per hour.
The calculation takes into account a basket of essential goods and services and provides the amount a worker should earn to give their family a basic but acceptable standard of living.
Over 13,000 organisations across all sectors have joined our movement, including over a third of the FTSE 100 and household names like Burberry, the Houses of Parliament, Nationwide, Oxfam, ITV and Chelsea Football Club.
Poverty is characterised by the inability to participate in the social and cultural life of society. Since being paid the real Living Wage I’ve been able to save a deposit and move out of the poor accommodation I was in. Everyone in Nottingham should be able to live, not just survive. Kristiyan Peev, chair of our Living Wage campaign team in Nottingham
Everyone needs pay that provides security for themselves and their family.
Rent is up, bills are through the roof and millions of workers are still not being paid a real Living Wage. The rising costs of living are affecting everyone, but the lowest paid are at the sharp end. Families are having to go to food banks, and children are going without school uniforms.
We've heard from many communities where people are feeling helpless, but it doesn't have to be this way. When people are paid a real Living Wage it makes a difference by restoring dignity, making them feel valued and able to live a decent life.
We know that a real Living Wage is the answer and we have the power to make change. Together we have and can continue to win pay rises for hundreds and thousands of workers, creating a positive and motivated workforce and a society we can all be proud of. Our wins include accrediting giant corporations such as HSBC, securing the London 2012 Olympic bid for all 3,000 employees to be paid a real Living Wage, and winning £19 million in pay rises for care workers by convincing England's largest provider of specialist housing and care for older people, Anchor Hannover, to pay its staff a real Living Wage.
The movement for a real Living Wage began at a meeting in East London, when Citizens UK brought together churches, mosques, schools and other local institutions to talk about the issues affecting their communities. One issue came up again and again – low pay.
At the time the government’s minimum wage was just £3.70 an hour. The gap between this and the amount needed for families to live on was having a big impact on people from all walks of life. Some people were working two or three minimum wage jobs and still struggling to make ends meet. Parents told us it was taking a huge toll on family life.
Out of this meeting, a powerful movement of faith leaders, trade unions and community organisations came together to call on major employers in the capital to pay their staff a London Living Wage. Read more about the early days of our campaign.
How you can get involved
Raise the profile of the Living Wage campaign in your organisation.
Here are some resources we recommended to members to share with others in your organisation and chapter.
Organise a celebration of care workers in your church: Service For Caregivers
Organise a roundtable in your Mosque on Islam and in-work poverty: Muslims & the real Living Wage
Run a school assembly or lesson on the Living Wage: Schools & the real Living Wage
Activities for young people to get involved in the Living Wage campaign: Youth groups & the Real Living Wage
The story of St Antony’s Catholic Primary
Supported by London Citizens, St Antony’s Catholic Primary School’s Living Wage campaign began with a survey carried out by Year 6 pupils of the local church and school population. Ms. Yvonne Wade, Deputy Headteacher at the school said:
“Our survey found that almost half of parents earned less than the Living Wage. No wonder families couldn’t get a proper meal on the table, or spend enough time together. There was a need for change. We told City Airport: ‘No is not an option, we can’t wait’. And we won.”
You can hear more about how pupils from St Antony's convinced City Airport to become a Living Wage employer on our podcast episode.Listen now
Join a campaign
Become a Living Wage employer
This video explains more about the accreditation process and how the rates are calculated.
Community Souls is a community interest company based in north London that trades as a cleaning company, employing and supporting adults who are furthest from the job market.
In addition to calling for every worker to earn the real Living Wage, we have set up additional projects around Living Wage Hours, Places and Pensions. Find out more about these projects and about how the real Living Wage is calculated by visiting the Living Wage Foundation's website using the button below.