Mayor vows to tackle low pay and improve working conditions

04 July 2017

• New ‘Good Work Standard’ aims to promote economic fairness and make London the best place in the world to work
• Sadiq to ‘roll up sleeves’ to tackle inequality and unfairness in workplaces
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today vowed to make London the best place in the world in which to work by tackling low pay, improving workplace conditions and boosting diversity across employers of all sizes and sectors in the capital.
Sadiq believes that getting to grips with inequalities and unfairness in the workplace is crucial to ensuring that London’s economy remains robust and sustainable and that our city becomes a fairer place in which to live and work.
Launching a call for evidence on his new ‘Good Work Standard‘ today, Sadiq has promised to ‘roll up his sleeves’ and engage directly with employers, encouraging them to sign up to the standard to promote economic fairness and best practice in employment.
The Mayor is now asking businesses and other employers to advise him on what they think should be included in and promoted through the Standard.
Essential requirements are likely to include London Living Wage accreditation, and compliance with a set of basic standards to ensure workers are treated fairly. Beyond that, employers will be asked to work towards higher standards and best practice in areas such as flexible working, workplace diversity, ongoing skills development and employee voice.
The Mayor is also keen to hear how the Standard can support the spread of opportunity and increase social integration and social mobility. Employers will be asked specifically what can be done to support people working in sectors where low pay, poor progression or other poor workplace practices are more commonly found.
Later in the year, the Mayor will host a series of public evidence-gathering sessions to highlight the problems experienced at work and find examples of best practice that could be used as a template across the city.
Fulfilling a manifesto commitment, the Mayor hopes this will kick start a major London-wide conversation about the future of work in the capital.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I promised to be the most pro-business Mayor London has ever seen and I firmly believe that a strong economy and a fairer city should go hand in hand.
“London is the best city in the world in which to do business – I want it to be the best city in the world in which to work as well.
“My team and I regularly have the privilege of meeting with business leaders from across all sectors, and I know that many of them share in this ambition. I am looking forward to meeting even more over the coming weeks and months as I roll up my sleeves to tackle low pay and workplace inequality, and ensure that employers are supported to share and adopt best practice in employment standards.
“We have one of the most dynamic and prosperous economies in the world – but I am determined to personally use this opportunity to strike up a serious conversation about the future of employment and how we can ensure prosperity is shared so all Londoners can benefit from the city’s success.”
The Mayor believes that certain aspects of London’s economy are unfair. Not all workers enjoy adequate workplace rights or receive at least the London Living Wage; some groups face discrimination in the labour market; pay gaps exist between women and men and those from BAME groups are paid less than white groups.
With half of FTSE 100 companies not having any BAME directors and fewer than ten per cent of directors in these companies being women* the Standard is also likely to include a pledge to encouraging diversity in the workplace.
The Mayor believes that businesses and employers of all shapes and sizes should become more diverse to reflect the ethnic make-up of the city.
Matthew Bolton from London Citizens, said: "This is a great move by the Mayor and we welcome his leadership and promotion of responsible business practice across our city. Last year the Mayor addressed 6,000 members of London Citizens and pledged to encourage businesses to accredit as London Living Wage Employers; ensuring that their lowest paid workers could earn at least enough to live on. We anticipate that the Mayor’s Good Work Standard will make a big impact and that many more Londoners will feel the positive effects of a better wage."
Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO, Virgin Money and a Member of the Mayor’s Business Advisory Board, said: “I am passionate about the potential of business as a force for good and welcome the Mayor’s Good Work Standard initiative. We cannot and must not build the success of a few by exploiting the many. Business leaders have a responsibility to society and good business creates a virtuous circle for everyone. Strong business ethics, improved diversity and paying the living wage are just some of the ways in which we can restore trust in business, drive the economy and bring growing prosperity to everyone.”
Megan Dobney, Regional Secretary for the Trades Union Congress in London, said: “I am pleased to see that the Mayor is putting the rights of workers at the heart of his business agenda. Strong and urgent action is needed to boost equality in the workplace - whether that is boosting wages or improving diversity. This consultation on the new Good Work Standard can help act as a catalyst to improve working conditions, promote economic fairness and ensure all Londoners are able to share in London’s prosperity.”
It is intended that participating organisations who sign up to the Mayor’s Good Work Standard will be recognised on the website and employers with outstanding practices will be celebrated by the Mayor.
The Mayor and Greater London Authority (GLA) is one of the capital’s largest employers, employing almost 80,000 people – 1.4 per cent of London’s workforce – across City Hall, the capital’s transport network, police and fire services. The GLA Group spends £11bn per year with its suppliers who also employ many people. For example, TfL estimates that in London alone its suppliers employ over 30,000 people. As a result, the Mayor can improve many Londoners’ experiences of work through the GLA Group’s practices.
Since becoming Mayor, Sadiq has led by example to promote economic fairness. In order to reduce the pay gap between men and women, he has published full gender pay details of all organisations in the GLA family. He tasked also his Deputy Mayors and senior City Hall officials with conducting an audit to root out any examples of staff being paid below the London Living Wage.
Today the Mayor also published a strengthened Responsible Procurement Policy, which reflects his determination to establish fair employment practices with the GLA’s suppliers. This is to ensure their employees receive fair pay and employment terms – including the London Living Wage. The policy also means suppliers which want to work with organisations across the GLA group will be encouraged to support other Mayoral objectives, such as helping London become a more resource-efficient and resilient city, as well as working with Londoners to bring about positive changes to their communities.
He has also increased the availability of part-time and flexible-working options across the GLA and aided career progression within those roles and appointed women to a number of senior positions at City Hall. Key boards such as the Transport for London Board, the Mayor’s Business Advisory Board and his Brexit Advisory Panel are gender balanced and have ethnically diverse make-ups while the GLA has recently been named by The Times as amongst The Times Top 50 Employers for Women.
In addition, the Mayor has put the London Living Wage at the heart of his work on economic fairness - so far, more than 1,000 businesses in London have signed up to pay the London Living Wage, which means more than 60,000 workers are benefitting from higher pay of at least £9.75 per hour.
Businesses, charities, academia and individuals keen to have their say on the Good Work Standard’ can do so at
*Sir John Parker, The Parker Review Committee, A Report into the Ethnic Diversity of UK Boards (2016)$FILE/Beyond%20One%20by%2021%20PDF%20Report.pdf
The GLA Group Responsible Procurement Policy is published at

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