BY CALUM FRASER
Greenwich council leader Denise Hyland has said she will be targeting more businesses in the borough to urge them to provide the London Living Wage if she is returned in May
Speaking to The Mercury at the Royal Greenwich Business Awards, she said: “One in four children in this borough are living in poverty, so it’s really important that businesses start to pay the London Living Wage.
“We’re an innovative borough, we celebrate success and we’re a Labour council that welcomes business, but we do want to become a fair borough and spread the economic prosperity to all.”
The New Year started on a sour note, as employees of Royal Museums Greenwich, the company that runs Cutty Sark, National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory, walked out on January 1 in protest against a restructuring of their pay packet.
Museum management decided to cut the break times of staff in low-paid roles – and on top of this the breaks would not be paid.
Ms Hyland said: “I have spoken with museum director Dr Kevin Fewster and I have told him I will be writing to him about the issue next week.
“He has promised me that they aspire to pay the London Living Wage, it will take time and they’re in a period of transition.”
The London Living Wage is independently calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission. It currently stands at £10.20 an hour.
Currently there are 11,435 businesses in the borough and there has been a growth rate of 8.6 per cent since 2016 which is above the London average of 5.6 per cent.
Ms Hyland said: “We campaigned to get 100 businesses to sign up to the London Living Wage foundation. If they did that we would give them a business rate reduction of five years’ worth of fees.
“We now have 100 businesses signed up which is going to, in part, start to disrupt the cycle of poverty.
“(Now) we are going to redouble our efforts. What I would love to see is the whole borough being a London Living Wage borough with every employer signed up.”
Kevin Fewster, Director of Royal Museums Greenwich, said: “Royal Museums Greenwich has committed to meeting the London Living Wage as soon as this is sustainable. The Museum is not funded by Government to make inflationary pay increases and now for the second year in a row the pay bills exceed our Government funding.
“Accordingly, we therefore need to earn more income from our various trading activities in order to reinvest in staff whilst remaining within public sector pay policy. Having reinforced our commitment to the Prospect union only this week our next task is to develop a sustainable strategy to achieve London Living Wage.”