During the Covid-19 pandemic, care workers in the capital stayed on the front line looking after the vulnerable, sacrificing their personal safety and often not seeing their families.
There is concern that many of these key workers earn below the London Living Wage of £10.85 per hour.
The London Assembly has today called on the Mayor to write to all London councils to urge them to ensure that all their employees, service providers and contractors are paid the London Living Wage.
Zack Polanski, who proposed the motion, said: ‘We must do better as a society to support those who support us. Care workers are making an enormous sacrifice and are key in our recovery from this pandemic. They deserve a wage they can live on in London.
‘This week is Carers Week, and while we all celebrate their extraordinary efforts with positive tweets and unified clapping, moving forward we must provide meaningful support through a real London living wage.’
The full text of the motion is:
‘This Assembly notes the extraordinary challenges faced by care workers since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, from a lack of suitable Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), and confusion over visitation rules to the sacrifices many of them made in not seeing their own families to protect patients and residents.
‘This Assembly recognises that care workers are our key workers and should be valued as such, however we are also concerned that while the London Living Wage is currently £10.85 per hour, many of London’s care workers earn far below this baseline.
‘A recent employment tribunal found that contractors commissioned by a London council were paid even less than the national minimum wage, in breach of the National Minimum Wage Act. This Assembly notes that the Government is responsible for enforcing National Minimum Wage law and calls on them to ensure the recently announced watchdog has the necessary powers and funding to ensure employers are complying with the law.
‘This Assembly also notes that over the decade to 2020, London local government will have seen the core funding it receives from government reduce by 63 per cent in real terms. Despite some additional funding boosts provided, this additional funding has not fully met the funding gap in the sector and London Councils estimate that by 2025 London will have a funding gap in the region of over half a billion pounds (£540 million) in adult social care.
‘This Assembly calls on the Mayor to write to all London councils who are not paying the London Living Wage to urge them to follow his lead by ensuring that not only is no one directly employed by them paid less than the London Living Wage, but that any service providers or contractors commissioned by councils are also paid the London Living Wage.
‘This Assembly also recognises the role that unpaid carers play in London and that Carer’s Allowance is the lowest benefit of its kind at £67.25 per week. This Assembly calls on the chair of the assembly to write to the chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak, to award a £20 a week supplement to carers entitled to Carer’s Allowance to match the increases awarded to those on Universal Credit.’
Photo Credit – Christopher Bill