Friday, 1 May 2009

Jean supports the Living Wage on May Day

Today is May Day - International Worker's Day. You can guarantee, however, that most of the UK's elected representatives will not have done anything to mark the occasion. They are much more interested in representing the rich, the powerful and the already influential than they are ordinary people.

Luckily, London has a Green MEP - and Jean spent today supporting a march in favour of the London Living Wage campaign. This topic has been blogged about before here, but its such an important issue - and the EU is such an important link in the chain of enabling people to be paid well - that it can't really be written about enough.

Jean spent the morning with students, staff and union activists from the university colleges in Bloomsbury on a march, calling for all employees to be paid a Living Wage, currently £7.45 in London.

The march, organised by the newly-formed Bloomsbury Living Wage Campaign, stopped at each of the educational centres around Russell Square, for speeches, drama and music. Workers at some Bloomsbury universities are still being paid the minimum wage – just £5.73. Many are forced to take on several jobs simply to make ends meet.

Campaigners have won commitments to pay all staff at least the Living Wage at four London universities – Queen Mary, the London School of Economics, SOAS and most recently Birkbeck. They are hoping for similar success at UCL, the Institute of Education, King’s, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and London Met. They also want the institutions who have adopted the Living Wage to commit to all aspects of the London Living Wage package – not just the minimum salary – including union rights and decent sick and holiday pay.

Jean said:

“The Living Wage campaign is one of the most important movements in London, and I’m proud to be joining this march and taking the May Day message of ‘Low pay – no way!’ to the Bloomsbury colleges.

“London’s universities are some of the best education establishments in the world. It’s time they set a similarly high standard for treatment of their staff. The capital is blighted by long hours and low pay, but everyone deserves a decent wage for their time.

“The recession has created difficult times for businesses, but workers should still receive fair treatment. We need justice for all.”

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