London Living Wage

MQT on 2008-07-16
Session date: 
July 16, 2008
Question By: 
Navin Shah
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Does the Mayor support the Living Wage for London Underground contract cleaners?


Answer for London Living Wage

Answer for London Living Wage

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Yes, Mr Shah, thank you. This is of course the question that was being raised by the protesters. Are they still here? [Shouting from the public gallery.] The cleaners are here. Let me just then explain, for the benefit of everybody, the question is does the Mayor support the London Living Wage for London Underground contract cleaners. The answer is, of course, yes. There are two sets of cleaning contracts for the Underground; those for Metronet and for Tube Lines. TfL is committed to the London Living Wage, having implemented the policy internally, and is working to ensure that the London Living Wage is included in the Metronet cleaning contracts. TfL is also encouraging Tube Lines to introduce the London Living Wage, though Tube Lines is not under TfL control and the decision is therefore a matter for Tube Lines. As I understand it, the London Living Wage for the cleaners will be introduced by August at the latest.

Navin Shah (AM): I do welcome your response and I am sure the Underground cleaners would very much also welcome this particular approach. I must say though that I am sorry that you dismissed this morning's demonstration as a stunt.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I do not think I used those words.

Navin Shah (AM): You did indeed. If you check the transcript you did say, 'A stunt'. I have got it written down. Anyway, it is regrettable that - Navin Shah (AM): However, to move on, as I said, I welcome your comment on accepting the London Living Wage allowance. There is an opportunity here. I understand that three of the four Metronet contracts are currently being renegotiated. What I would like to suggest - and this is clearly a golden opportunity now - that these new contracts do actually have incorporated the London Living Wage allowance as part of the contractual obligation so that the employers cannot duck away from their responsibility. This is where I think we have a duty, and I think that this is the least that we could do; to make sure that those people who deserve better are actually not exploited and their concerns are being legally accommodated within the new contract.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Thank you very much, Navin. I will certainly pursue what you say. I do think it is a very interesting and sad comment on the failure of the Labour Government; I might as well have a bit of party political point scoring now; it has been a long time since I have indulged in any! I do think it is sad that the wealth gap has grown and the cost of living for people on low incomes is very, very acute at the moment. We saw what happened with the 10p tax rate. It is very, very tough for people. That is why I am absolutely determined to make sure that we do set an example with the GLA and with the functional bodies to make sure that people are paid the London Living Wage, because the gap between rich and poor has been growing in London and it is our job to stop it and to reverse that process.