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It takes a lot for a politician to teach me anything and I disregard most of what any of them say because I’m generally aware of the true sentiment behind their words. Something British PM David Cameron said recently though has added a new dimension to why I’m a strong supporter of the London Living Wage and why I applaud (in particular) the contractors who opt to pay their cleaners more than the National Minimum Wage decrees that they should.
I’ve always thought about the cleaners in the past. They do what can be a really unpleasant job that few of us would choose to do and they tend to be ignored by those who happen to be using the area being cleaned – as if the cleaners are not actually there, working hard to make the environment better for us to enjoy. Add to that the fact that many cleaners earn NMW and have little prospect of reaching management level within their companies and – well – it’s not really fair, is it? Why shouldn’t they be paid more for their efforts and why should they have the added indignity of being classed as receiving benefits?
Successive governments have followed a scheme whereby the poorly paid have their income topped up by tax credits (and from what I’ve read, this is not something that’s peculiar to the UK but is used in other countries too) and while I’ve been pleased that as a result they have to struggle less than they might, it was only thanks to Cameron’s words that I experienced the 'Eureka moment.' It’s my money (and yours) which is being used to pay people whose employers don’t - for one reason or another, pay them enough on which to live.
I say 'for one reason or another' because there are no doubt cases whereby employers have created jobs that their cashflow can’t really support but there will be many more where wealthy employers who can well afford to pay their workforce a living wage decide not to. Why should I help pay it on their behalf?
That’s not fair either, is it?
Congratulations then to Brayborne Facilities Services, the latest in a growing band of contractors striving to pay a fair wage for a fair day’s work. I hope it won’t be long before those that don’t pay a living wage are vastly outnumbered by those that do!
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2nd July 2015