Tag Archives: Living Wage

Something for everyone on the menu

We’re in the midst of the London restaurant festival – a month celebrating the diversity and quality of eateries and food on offer in our great capital, with 350 restaurants across the city taking part.

Overall, apparently there are around 17,000 restaurants in London and in many ways, they sum up the nature of the city better than any other feature. The range in budgets, cultures, locations, attitudes and appearances is truly mind boggling – a real cosmopolitan melting pot.

Whether you head to the East End for pie and mash, Little Italy for pasta, Chinatown for dim sum or the burrito van on the South Bank, there truly is something for everyone.

The restaurants really are part of what makes London great, and I haven’t even started on the buildings they are in. Some of the high level restaurants, such as the Aqua Shard or Duck & Waffle in the Heron Tower near Liverpool Street, provide views seen by very few Londoners (except those who work in high level cleaning or high level maintenance like us!).

However, in common with the cleaning industry, the hospitality industry as a whole is not known for the longevity of its staff, or its generous wage levels. We’ve seen numerous examples in our industry of the benefits that come with paying the Living Wage, including – but not limited to – happier, more motivated staff, easier recruitment, better retention levels, and happier customers.

The end of the restaurant festival coincides with this year’s Living Wage Week (30 October to 5 November). Wouldn’t it be great if the overlap was more than just on the calendar and we saw an increase in the number of restaurants signing up to pay the fair wage?

Sharing the benefits of being a Living Wage employer

The increased costs of paying higher wages are a concern to many businesses, so London Living Wage employer CAM Specialist Support – a commercial high-level cleaning and building maintenance business – was happy to share its experiences of the benefits with a group of local businesses recently.

Speaking at an event organised by Lewisham Council, Sean Canty, Director at CAM, outlined what the Living Wage means to the business and admitted: “we understand why companies might be reluctant to join the London Living Wage scheme, but any uncertainty is behind us now. We have always looked to pay our staff well and paid the London Living Wage rate for a couple of years before becoming officially accredited.”

Since receiving the official accreditation, CAM has seen a better quality of applicants for vacant posts within the company and staff retention and engagement has improved. It has also led to a reduction in absenteeism.

“We’ve found that there is greater awareness of CAM from both existing and potential customers – some of which insist their contractors are accredited – and that we can add value to their businesses now we have the accreditation. This has all helped to grow our business,” said Sean.

Fellow director Matt Johnson added: “Paying the London Living Wage has enhanced the way we view ourselves as a company, and the way we are viewed by existing and potential customers. Our initial fear that we would need to reduce our staff levels to cope with the costs has proved unfounded thanks to the extra business we’ve been able to secure.”

The event was hosted by the Mayor of Lewisham and also featured a presentation from Katherine Chapman of the Living Wage Foundation and the announcement of a business rate rebate scheme for Living Wage employers in the London Borough of Lewisham to help them with accreditation costs.

Unexpected reward for paying London Living Wage

Working at height expert, CAM Specialist Support has been presented with the London Borough of Lewisham’s Employer of the Year award for commitment to its staff, including paying the London Living Wage.

The picture shows the award being presented to CAM Director, Matt Johnson (left), by Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, when he visited the Company’s offices, along with council colleagues, as part of Living Wage Week. The council delegation wanted to find out about CAM’s experience of paying the London Living Wage and developing its workforce through apprenticeships. CAM is one of only two private sector organisations in the borough accredited by the Living Wage Foundation.

Matt Johnson explained: “We pay the Living Wage, because we believe it is the right thing to do morally. We want everyone who works here to be able to feed and clothe their families and not be worrying about in-work poverty. As well as the moral benefits, we’ve found there are commercial returns as staff are more loyal and flexible when they are being treated with respect, reducing recruitment time and costs. Paying the Living Wage also means people are less likely to take shortcuts while working and we have an excellent safety record as a result.

“We were honoured when the Mayor wanted to come and visit us to discuss how we work and how other businesses can be encouraged to join the Living Wage movement. We were surprised and delighted when he presented us with the Employer of the Year award, as it is always great to be recognised for doing the right thing. We hope more businesses will realise the benefits of paying the Living Wage to their staff and contractors so that everyone receives a fairer deal.”

CAM Specialist Support calls on cleaning industry to help attract next generation of cleaning professionals

The cleaning industry is not often the first choice destination for school, college or university leavers and those seeking work, but CAM Specialist Support is looking to change that. With the Living Wage prominent in the news following George Osborne’s recent budget, the building services company is aiming to showcase the career prospects available in the sector and is calling on the cleaning industry to ensure that new recruits are paid fairly.

Matt Johnson, Director at CAM Specialist Support said: “The cleaning industry offers tremendous opportunities to the right people. I myself started off as a window cleaner and now run my own diverse company. However, we need to make the industry more attractive to quality applicants so that our profession gains the credibility it deserves. The first stage on that journey is to ensure we pay a wage that people can actually live on.”

CAM Specialist Support is an accredited Living Wage employer and pays the Living Wage of at least £9.15 per hour in London. The current National Minimum Wage is just £6.50, a figure that is unsustainable and leads to in-work poverty.

Matt acknowledges that the tender process for cleaning contracts is almost exclusively driven by price, but says it is up to the industry to increase their clients’ understanding of the results of low prices on the frontline workers cleaning their offices, shops, schools and other premises.

CAM Specialist Support is committed to its employees and runs a support programme, which includes training, investment and personal development. Alongside this it matches and exceeds local expectations regarding levels of remuneration and pension contributions for staff.

Matt added: “The cleaning industry is about so much more than pushing a mop or broom around, it is ripe with opportunities for those with an entrepreneurial spirit. Cleaning can be a varied and rewarding career and one that offers plenty of prospects.

“At CAM Specialist Support we offer every service a building owner or manager could need. That means people who work for us have a great chance to learn a lot and get involved with many different aspects of the cleaning industry.”

Cam Specialist Support celebrates Living Wage commitment

The Living Wage Foundation is pleased to announce that CAM Specialist Support, has today, 3 August, been accredited as a Living Wage employer.

The Living Wage commitment will see everyone working at CAM Specialist Support, regardless of whether they are permanent employees or third-party contractors and suppliers; receive a minimum hourly wage of £7.85 – significantly higher than the national minimum wage of £6.50.

The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually. The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living using the ‘Minimum Income Standard’ for the UK. Decisions about what to include in this standard are set by the public; it is a social consensus about what people need to make ends meet.

CAM Specialist Support Managing Director, Matt Johnson, said: “Paying a wage that people can actually live on is absolutely the right thing to do morally and financially. Our employees are people not commodities. We want to attract and retain quality staff and so reward them accordingly. As a London based company, we pay the Living Wage of at least £9.15 per hour in London.”

Employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis. The Living Wage enjoys cross party support, with public backing from the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.

Living Wage Foundation Director, Rhys Moore said: “We are delighted to welcome CAM Specialist Support to the Living Wage movement as an accredited employer.

“The best employers are voluntarily signing up to pay the Living Wage now. The Living Wage is a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.

“We have accredited over 1,500 leading employers, including CAM Specialist Support, ranging from independent printers, bookshops and breweries, to well-known companies such as Nationwide, Aviva and SSE. These businesses recognise that clinging to the national minimum wage is not good for business. Customers expect better than that.”

Media Contacts

Living Wage
Gillian Owen, 07876 246 150, gillian.owen@citizensuk.org.uk

CAM Specialist Support
Alistair Moses, 01372 200 900, Alistair@cbipr.com