Monday, 18 May 2015

Living Wage win for Saria cleaners

Unite reps secure Living Wage 
Mark Metcalf, Thursday, May 14th, 2015 

Unite wants all workers to be paid at least the Living Wage, which is the minimum income a worker needs to ensure their basic needs are met.

Unite reps at many workplaces are increasingly using wage negotiations to persuade employers to ensure that no-one they employ earns below the established Living Wage (LW) rates of £9.15 per hour in London and £7.85 in the rest of the country.

Such an approach has now paid dividends for five cleaners in Doncaster where four sites, including pet food operators SARVAL, operate as part of the much larger SARIA group that has plants right across the world.

Elected Unite reps have been pushing since 2013 for no worker to earn below the Living Wage. Until now they have been unsuccessful during annual wage negotiations in persuading the company to pay it.

Persistence pays off
This year though their persistence has paid off. Because in addition to agreeing a 2.5 per cent pay increase for all workers, many of who earn £8.84 an hour as production workers, the company has agreed to increase the pay of its cleaners from £6.70 to £7.85 an hour. A hefty increase which should enable them to afford the basics for a decent quality of life.

The wage negotiations were led for Unite by the senior steward at SARVAL, Andrew Jones (pictured), who said,  “I am very pleased we have now persuaded management during our wage negotiations to see there was a just case to pay all employees the Living Wage.

“They had previously told us everyone earned at least the minimum wage but this leaves workers relying on government assistance for additional income and does nothing to make work pay.”

This latest victory by Unite workplace reps came just days after David Cameron was unable to specify how much the Living Wage actually is. Asked during a Radio 1 Newsbeat interview on April 22 by a young audience member he said, “It’s different in different parts of the country….. I don’t have the figures in my head.”

He was condemned by the shadow business secretary, Chuka Umunna, who said,“It’s no wonder the Tories have nothing to offer working people.”

The Unite reps’ success will surely inspire others to persist in their fight for the Living Wage.

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