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ISS, Facilicom & Enhance take pioneering lead in Service Provider Accreditation coalition committed to the Living Wage
To mark Living Wage week, ISS, Facilicom and Enhance have confirmed their commitment to the principles of responsible pay, by being the first in the Facilities & Business Services sector to sign up to a Service Provider Accreditation contract with the Living Wage Foundation.
The three companies are leading the charge for a coalition of Facilities & Business Services providers who support and actively promote a Living Wage in outsourced employment. It is a proactive stance that not only cements the coalition partners' position as ethical employers, but also aligns to the approach and values of many of their key customers including PwC, BlackRock Tube Lines and KPMG.
New research commissioned by KPMG, highlights the need for wider take-up of the Living Wage if more people are to earn a basic standard of living. Guy Stallard, Head of Facilities at KMPG explains the importance of working with suppliers who share their philosophy:
"KPMG's implementation of the Living Wage in 2006 has been a great success with increased quality of service and higher levels of productivity and flexibility. We have implemented in a cost-neutral way thanks to the pro-activity and engagement of our facilities suppliers. It is really important for KPMG to work with suppliers who are forward thinking and respect their employees."
The Living Wage is an independently set hourly rate, which is updated annually to ensure workers earn enough so that they - and their families, can live free from poverty.
In London, the current rate of £8.55 is calculated by the Greater London Authority, while the rate for the rest of the UK, currently £7.45, is set by the Centre for Research in Social Policy. They are already significantly more than the existing minimum wage rate of £6.31, which came into effect last month.
As a voluntary commitment, the coalition partners pledge to encourage landlords, customers and suppliers to adopt a fair wage approach. To this end, in addition to paying a Living Wage for all support staff employed on their estates, the partners include a Living Wage option in all tender submissions.
These are the minimum conditions of being an accredited service provider and, essentially, they mean that accredited partners meet the usual Living Wage criteria, bar where their services and pay rates are determined by the market.
"I am extremely proud that ISS is the first of the major Facilities Services companies to sign the Service Provider Accreditation" said Richard Sykes, Chief Executive Officer, ISS UK and Ireland.
"Formalising our commitment to the Living Wage is a pioneering step for our industry and I sincerely hope others in the FM sector will follow our lead. As a responsible and progressive business, paying a Living Wage makes sense on every level, and it feels good to be doing business the right way".
Sandy Aird, Managing Director of Enhance Office Cleaning expressed a similar view when setting out the journey his company have taken and why it decided to sign up to the Service Provider Accreditation:
"After a campaign to get all Enhance staff onto the Living Wage in 2010, the vast majority of our clients agreed and now support this. The Living Wage Service Provider Accreditation recognises Enhance Office Cleaning, for our continuous promotion of fair pay for cleaners. The Living Wage is a calculation of the minimum pay rate required to enable an individual to support themselves at a basic level and as such, no-one should be expected to work for less."
Facilicom similarly view the accreditation as a natural progression in its commitment to fair pay principles:
"The launch of the Service Provider Accreditation is the culmination of a two-year long association for Facilicom with the Living Wage Campaign" explained Phil Smith, Commercial Director of Facilicom.
"With so many thousands of service sector colleagues currently in receipt of low pay we are delighted to stand alongside our partners in driving a process that will significantly raise pay, enhance individual and family well-being, and deliver true social sustainability."
The notion of a Living Wage has existed since the early 1800's but became more than just an idea in the UK, as a result of campaigning organised by (founding Charity of the Living Wage Foundation), Citizens UK.
Citizens UK took the voices of cleaners in East London to the fore, these cleaners felt compelled to ask why working a 40 hour week in one job or more, on the legal minimum, did not result in them being able to live free from poverty or benefit assistance. The unworkable solution of working more and more hours, just left them in the impossible position of then not being able to spend any time with their families, take part in society or any quality of life.
Communicating this inequality has enabled the idea of a fair wage, to being an hourly calculated minimum, based on the real cost of living. This rate is recalculated every year and is celebrated with those accredited employers who use the rate under the criteria set by the Living Wage Foundation, during the week known as 'Living Wage Week' (this year 3rd - 9th November).
The Living Wage Foundation works directly with employers throughout the UK and has accredited over 430 to date. In partnership with those that calculate the rate and think tanks that assist in research for the effects of low paid work, the Foundation manages all communications about the Living Wage as a central hub. The Living Wage Foundation awards businesses that apply the Living Wage to all staff, including contractors, with a trademark for fair pay. All businesses are consulted and must commit to paying this through a legal agreement between them and the Living Wage Foundation.
Service providers have added to the success of the Living Wage over the years, working with some of the 430 accredited employers. Often the most difficult step for employers in becoming accredited is to apply this to their contracted staff by firstly finding out how much these employees are currently being paid & then working with their service providers where possible, to work towards a solution. The Foundation is proud to be accrediting willing service providers who also believe in the business benefits of paying a Living Wage.
Partners of the Living Wage are: Save the Children, Joseph Rowntree Foundation & Housing Trust, KPMG, Aviva, Queen Mary University of London, Trust for London, Resolution Foundation and Linklaters.
7th November 2013