This week marks the annual campaign for a Living Wage – a cross-party movement of independent businesses, organisations, and people who believe in making work pay. It is also the week when the Living Wage Foundation annually announces the new voluntary rates. This year, the rate increased to £9 per hour, whilst the Mayor of London declared that the London Living Wage will rise to £10.55 per hour. This increase of 25p per hour (or 35p in London) is set to boost the income, and make a real difference to over 180,000 workers in the UK.
We have been supporters of the Living Wage movement for many years. In fact, we are a founder member of the Living Wage Recognised Service Provider scheme and proud to be part of the Recognised Service Providers Leadership Group. Our Director of Development, Lisa Sheppard sits within this group, and has been attending the events this week to help show our support, spread awareness and encourage other companies to join the movement.
At Facilicom, we see paying the Living Wage as one of our core values and the ultimate in social sustainability. We highly value our people and the work they do, and are passionate about ensuring they receive a fair pay that reflects the real cost of living. People who are willing to work hard for their wages should be rewarded sufficiently to be able to live and enjoy life.
We have seen the many benefits of paying the Living Wage – both for our colleagues, (particularly our hard working cleaning operatives) and how this extends to the bottom line. In return for a fair wage, our colleagues repay us with their loyalty and dedication. Low levels of absenteeism, increased retention and high job satisfaction rates are just a few of the advantages we have enjoyed as a Living Wage Recognised Service Provider, and because of this, our business has continued to grow.
In addition to offering a sufficient remuneration, we also take steps to ensure our colleagues’ welfare. Every single staff member has 24/7 access to an Employee Assistance Programme, where they can discuss any issues that might adversely affect their work performance, health and wellbeing.
This is important, as we believe that ‘happy people make happy people’ – in other words, by creating a happy and positive workforce, our clients will receive a much better service. Colleagues are more motivated and committed to their tasks, have a better understanding of a client’s needs and are more likely to engage in issues rather than just doing the minimum amount of work in return for the minimum amount of pay.
Increasing low-paid workers to a realistic pay level is an important first step to improving their wellbeing – but it is also a step towards better team work, service and greater client satisfaction. In an industry where so many people are employed on the minimum wage, we need to see more cleaning companies involved in the Recognised Service Provider Scheme and play their part in tackling in-work poverty.
Jan Hein Hemke.
Managing Director at Facilicom UK & Ireland