SERTUC was glad to join a demonstration organised by GMB outside a branch of NEXT, 14 September, in Newbury, Berkshire. The protest called upon the retailer, which has just announced considerable profits for 2014-2015, to pay the Living Wage of £7.85 per hour as a minimum rate of pay in branches outside London, and to pay a minimum of £9.15 per hour in branches in London. The Living Wage is calculated to be the minimum for a full-time worker to earn enough to afford a decent standard of living.
Protestors posed for photographs for the local media and engaged with NEXT customers and passers-by. Very many were astounded to learn that hourly pay at NEXT could seemingly be so low.
The GMB says that NEXT currently pays £6.70 per hour to those 21 and over and £5.84 to those aged 18 to 20. GMB says that is aware of that many jobs are for only 12.5 hours per week, or even fewer in some stores. The GMB also says that some store staff can get a bonus that can amount to an additional 7 per cent on hourly rates, at a maximum. This leaves the majority of staff well below a Living Wage of £7.85 per hour outside London and £9.15per hour in London.
NEXT employed approximately 52,500 employees in 2014, (full time equivalent 28,568), at over 500 stores, call centres and warehouses in the UK and Ireland.
The rates for the Living Wage and London Living Wage will be independently re-calculated soon and new rates announced in November. This is not to be confused with the government’s ‘so called’ National Living Wage, which is really a supplement to the National Minimum Wage for workers over 25.
Or for the campaign in the Southern Region contact Asia Allison, GMB Regional Organiser, on 07813 541930
Many unions are using Living Wage campaigns as part of organising campaigns.
The concept of a Living Wage has strong historical foundations dating back to the 1907 Harvester Judgement in Australia, ‘that an employer was obliged to pay his employees a wage that guaranteed them a standard of living which was reasonable for a human being in a civilised community to live in frugal comfort’. The concept of a London Living Wage was codified by Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, and the GLA Living Wage Unit published the first rate in November 2004. It has been up-rated annually since that date.
There are successful Living Wage campaigns in some cities in the USA, such as New York, Seattle and San Francisco.
General information - Living Wage Foundation
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