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Sunday, March 26, 2017
Faith groups demand a living wage for Londoners
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¬† Moslems, Hindus and Christians from East London have launched a campaign demanding a living wage for Londoners. At their meeting in Stratford town hall, more than 150 delegates from The East London Community Organisation, representing local churches, temples, mosques and other community groups, voted in favour of the campaign. Fr John Armitage, parish priest at St Margaret's Catholic church in Canning Town, outlined the injustice of the present system of pay and income in London, where salaried staff are paid a very small London weighting allowance, when the cost of living is much higher than anywhere else in the UK. Fr John pointed out that families and communities in the capital are being broken up as the younger generation are forced to move out of London in order to try and bring up their children. He said that many people in low-waged jobs are earning less and less, as such work is increasingly being contracted out to the private sector who pay the minimum they can get away with. The legal 'minimum wage' is just £3.70 an hour - the same in London as it is in Liverpool. Public sector trade union Unison is joining forces with TELCO in the campaign. For the first phase the union is asking the Family Budget Unit of Kings College, London, to conduct a survey on the cost of bringing up a family in London. Over the next three months TELCO groups and parishes will also carry out surveys to find out what wages people are earning. They will be examining how pay has dropped over the last few years and discover whether there is a relationship between companies contracting out jobs to the private sector and lower wages. "All evidence so far points to a reduction in pay and conditions when jobs are done by the private sector," said a spokesman. For example, he said, parking attendants employed by Camden Council in North London earned £10.57 an hour for a 35 hour week. Now that the work has been contracted out to private firms, the same people receive £5.80 - £6.58 per hour for a 42-hour week. "A survey will give us the details and evidence we need to support any case we bring for a living wage for all East Londoners," said spokesman Paul Bunyan. TELCO will meet again in the New Year. They have already held preliminary talks with the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, and will submit a report to him shortly after Christmas.
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