Council to become London Living Wage employer and encourage other businesses to follow

Councillors and campaigners celebrate the London Living Wage motion being passed. Picture: Cllr Mas

Councillors and campaigners celebrate the London Living Wage motion being passed. Picture: Cllr Mas Patel - Credit: Cllr Mas Patel

Businesses across Newham will be encouraged to pay their employers at least the London Living Wage.

Newham Council agreed a motion, tabled by Cllr Mas Patel, to write to the borough’s business owners asking them to ensure their employees are paid a minimum of £10.55 per hour.

Currently, almost 40 per cent of people working in Newham earn less than that threshold.

The council also agreed that it would become an accredited London Living Wage employer in the next year.

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said: “Under this administration, Newham will become an accredited Living Wage employer for the first time.

“We intend leading by example and others in the borough need to follow. That is why I am writing to employers to encourage them to do so.”

Monday night’s meeting saw Cllr Patel tell how it would have made a difference to his family while he was growing up.

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He said: “Like millions of others from poor working families, my parents worked long hours in a low-paid job in a Lancashire cotton mill.

“You may have heard about the harsh pay and conditions they and so many other had to endure and they did so with a fortitude so that their next generation could have a better life.”

Cllr Patel also highlighted the work of community organisations including Newham Citizens and Telco, and union campaigners who gathered outside the town hall ahead of the meeting to encourage councillors to vote in support of the motion.

He explained: “I presented this motion because ordinary members in our boroug took the initiative to move a motion at my Labour party branch meeting in Forest Gate South, a ward which I and Tahmina [Rahman, the motion’s seconder] represent.

“This motion was then passed by West Ham CLP. It’s not presented to you from above, but comes from the grassroots of our

party locally.”

The agreement was welcomed by union GMB, whose regional secretary Warren Kenny said: “This is an important and significant step in the right direction by the council to ensure low paid workers across the borough are lifted out of low pay brackets.”