UK investors group urges FTSE 250 to sign up to Living Wage UK investors group urges FTSE 250 to sign up to Living Wage

UK investors group urges FTSE 250 to sign up to Living Wage
02 Jan 2019

A group of UK investors has urged FTSE 250 companies to commit to paying their staff at least the 'real' Living Wage.

ShareAction, which works with investors to challenge unsustainable corporate practices, has called on major employers including mobile operator Vodafone, Severn Trent Water and construction firm Balfour Beatty to pay their staff at least £9 (US$11.32) an hour, or £10.55 (US$13.27) in London, by becoming Living Wage Foundation accredited. The group said 63 of the FTSE 100 organisations have yet to sign up.

The letters to the companies’ chief executives, which have been signed by 15 investors with combined assets of more than £180 billion (US$226 billion), say that paying the Living Wage helps to ensure an organisation’s continuing productivity while earning the loyalty of employees at all levels.

 “As a result, momentum behind the standard has grown, and the Living Wage has quickly become a symbol of responsible business practice,” the letters say. “With more than 4,800 employers accredited, the Living Wage has become an important marker of a company’s investment in staff over and above the legal requirements, including the national living wage.”

In response, a Severn Trent spokesman told Personnel Today: “At Severn Trent, our policy is to ensure that directly-employed colleagues who are not on a training rate of pay receive at least the Living Wage."

A spokeswoman for Balfour Beatty said the company complied with the national minimum wage and national living wage requirements for all staff that were directly employed. It also ensured that its subcontractors paid their staff the legal minimum hourly rates, she added. Vodafone refused to comment.

Meanwhile, the latest figures from the UK’s Office for National Statistics show that wages are rising at their highest level for nearly a decade. Compared with a year earlier, salaries excluding bonuses, were up by 3.3% for the three months to October, the biggest rise since November 2008. Average weekly wages are now £495 (US$623) - the highest since 2011, when adjusted for inflation.

The number of people in work also rose by 79,000 to 32.48 million, the highest figure since records began in 1971. But Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Margaret Greenwood told the BBC: "The reality behind these figures is that the number of people in work in poverty is rising faster than employment. Real wages are still lower than they were 10 years ago."

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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A group of UK investors has urged FTSE 250 companies to commit to paying their staff at least the 'real' Living Wage.

ShareAction, which works with investors to challenge unsustainable corporate practices, has called on major employers including mobile operator Vodafone, Severn Trent Water and construction firm Balfour Beatty to pay their staff at least £9 (US$11.32) an hour, or £10.55 (US$13.27) in London, by becoming Living Wage Foundation accredited. The group said 63 of the FTSE 100 organisations have yet to sign up.

The letters to the companies’ chief executives, which have been signed by 15 investors with combined assets of more than £180 billion (US$226 billion), say that paying the Living Wage helps to ensure an organisation’s continuing productivity while earning the loyalty of employees at all levels.

 “As a result, momentum behind the standard has grown, and the Living Wage has quickly become a symbol of responsible business practice,” the letters say. “With more than 4,800 employers accredited, the Living Wage has become an important marker of a company’s investment in staff over and above the legal requirements, including the national living wage.”

In response, a Severn Trent spokesman told Personnel Today: “At Severn Trent, our policy is to ensure that directly-employed colleagues who are not on a training rate of pay receive at least the Living Wage."

A spokeswoman for Balfour Beatty said the company complied with the national minimum wage and national living wage requirements for all staff that were directly employed. It also ensured that its subcontractors paid their staff the legal minimum hourly rates, she added. Vodafone refused to comment.

Meanwhile, the latest figures from the UK’s Office for National Statistics show that wages are rising at their highest level for nearly a decade. Compared with a year earlier, salaries excluding bonuses, were up by 3.3% for the three months to October, the biggest rise since November 2008. Average weekly wages are now £495 (US$623) - the highest since 2011, when adjusted for inflation.

The number of people in work also rose by 79,000 to 32.48 million, the highest figure since records began in 1971. But Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Margaret Greenwood told the BBC: "The reality behind these figures is that the number of people in work in poverty is rising faster than employment. Real wages are still lower than they were 10 years ago."

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

OTHER STORIES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

180,000 UK staff due to pay rise due to living wage increase

Trends 2018: UK Tax benefit and minimum wage changes

Pressure mounts on UK government to regulate gig economy

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