The Living Wage is an hourly rate calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. It currently stands at £8.25 in the UK and £9.40 in London (in comparison with the minimum wage of £6.70.) 2000 companies are accredited living wage employers, including KPMG, Nationwide, the Royal Opera House and Tate & Lyle London Offices and Oliver Bonas.
John Lewis is the UK’s leading retailer and last Christmas/New Year enjoyed a hugely profitable period with the highest market share in the retail sector. Following this, John Lewis staff received 11% bonus payments. John Lewis brands itself as a company that is committed to treating its suppliers, customers and partners with fairness. But it has contracted out its cleaning services. Its cleaners receive less than the living wage and are not entitled to the bonus payments paid to directly employed staff.There is growing concern that increasing inequality in UK is damaging to the whole of society. Given John Lewis’s impressive profit levels, it is very troubling that it refuses to show moral leadership and pay its cleaners the living wage.