Saturday, 14 February 2009

Commitment to the Living Wage

One common, and mistaken, stereotype about Greens is that they only work on issues to do with environmental sustainability. However, unlike the mainstream parties, Greens understand that a healthy planet will not be worth living on unless the inequality and injustice that blights our society is dealt with. Green Party elected representatives on all levels have been working hard to deal with issues of poverty and deprivation that the other parties have ignored for too long. A good example is the work being done across the country on the 'living wage'.

The concept is simple. The minimum wage, while welcome, is simply not enough for people to live on. A Green government would introduce a Citizen's Income for everyone, as of right - but before we are in a position to implement such a scheme, we can still push hard for a liveable wage for people's work. In London, that rate is currently £7.45 an hour, and it was the budget negotiations of the London Assembly Green Group that made it the official policy of the GLA. It has been Green Party policy for some time now, and while campaigning and community groups like London Citizens are doing excellent work pushing forward the concept, it is elected Greens who are at the forefront of making it happen in council chambers across the UK. Just two recent examples of our efforts in this area can be seen in Southwark and Lambeth.

And don't think that Jean is missing out on this campaign for social justice! As ever, she's pushing things forward on a European level, and making sure that pioneering Green work in London is replicated across the continent. An example of her latest effort to bring the European Commission into line on a living wage can be seen in her Written Question, below.

by Jean Lambert (Verts/ALE)
to the Commission

Subject: The inclusion of living-wage conditions in procurement processes

The Commission may be aware of the London Living-Wage Policy of the Greater London Authority, and similar standards in other Member States, whereby public and private employers guarantee a minimum wage greater than the statutory requirement as a response to issues of local or regional low pay, affordability and poverty.

Can the Commission confirm that the inclusion of living-wage conditions in procurement processes is taken into account by the EU procurement regime, such that the benefits of living-wage guarantees can be enjoyed to an equivalent standard by workers directly employed by third parties?

Will the Commission review the EU procurement regime to ensure that living-wage policies are not just fully accommodated, but indeed encouraged, as part of EU objectives for social and economic inclusion and sustainable development?

P.S. Don't forget - if you want Jean to be re-elected - you need to support her! Please consider donating, which you can do simply by clicking the button at the top right of this page.

No comments: