Night time economy workers

MQT on 2018-11-22
Session date: 
November 22, 2018
Question By: 
Caroline Russell
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Following the publication in February 2018 of the London Assembly Economy Committee report, Rewrite the night: the future of London's night time economy, what action have you taken to support night time workers in London?


Night time economy workers

Night time economy workers

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Night workers are vital to our city.  Night workers are the emergency service workers who keep us safe, workers who drive our Tube and buses, entertain us in our theatres and music venues, clean our streets and workplaces, and keep our NHS running.


In response to recommendations in the report by City Hall and the London Night Time Commission, I have undertaken ground-breaking research to better understand London at night.  London At Night - An Evidence Base for a 24-Hour City gives us the most comprehensive picture of London between 6.00pm and 6.00am ever produced.  We now know that 1.6 million Londoners, one-third of the capital’s workers, usually work evenings and nights and that jobs in the night time industries are growing faster than the those in the wider economy, at 2.2% per year.  That is why it is important that we support night workers through the Night Tube and London Overground Night Service, which has allowed many of those people to get home at night safely, quickly and affordably.  I would remind the Assembly that the previous Mayor gave up on the idea of London having a Night Tube.


The demand for the Night Tube has increased with 8.7 million customers using the service last year.  The Night Tube generates an additional £190 million for London’s economy.  In addition to this, we continue to provide a comprehensive Night Bus service with 130 routes across London and 918 buses serving them.  50% of people who use the Night Bus service are going to or returning from work.  Early-morning and late-night shift workers can benefit from the Night Tube and Night Bus services.


The research revealed that over 500,000 night workers are paid below the London Living Wage.  Every Londoner is entitled to a decent standard of living no matter what time of day or night they work.  That is why I have called upon night-time employers to step up and ensure the welfare of their employees by paying them the London Living Wage.  Every Londoner is entitled to a decent standard of living.


Time is short and so I will allow the Assembly Member time for questions.


Caroline Russell AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  I also thank your Night Czar, Amy Lamé, for picking up the [London Assembly] Economy Committee’s recommendation in our Rewrite the night report, last year [2017] when I was Chair to research the proportion of workers in the London night time economy who receive the London Living Wage.


As you said, your report highlights some really shocking statistics; for example, the fact that 1.6 million people in London are working at night and over 530,000 of them are paid less than the London Living Wage.  Almost one-third of night-time workers are getting less than the London Living Wage, which is almost double the number of people who are paid less than the London Living Wage during the day.  That is completely unacceptable.


The London Living Wage got going because big companies got behind the campaign.  Are you going to work with companies that employ people at night to get their commitment to pay the London Living Wage?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Thank you.  First, thank you for what you have said and for the way you have said it.  Yes, we are going to work with companies.


Can I give you some other pieces of potential good news in this area?  The Good Work Standard is an initiative to encourage more employers to pay the Living Wage.  To be a Good Work Standard accredited employer, an employer has to pay the London Living Wage.  The evidence shows it is good for business; it improves staff morale and it helps with recruitment and retention.


Caroline Russell AM:  Excellent.  Thank you.  Your study showed that four out of five visitors to London say that culture and heritage are the main reasons for their trip and that more than half of the people working in the culture and leisure industries at night are paid less than the London Living Wage.  Those workers make London an interesting and attractive place to visit but they are not being paid properly.  It is not OK to make people work for less because of their love of what they are doing in the arts.


Will we see a more robust policy in your final Culture Strategy on making the London Living Wage the standard in the cultural and creative sector?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Chairman, there are at least 12 points in that question, which all deserve a response.


Caroline Russell AM:  The question is about people in the arts.  Will you update your Culture Strategy in the final version to be more robust about the cultural sector committing to paying the London Living Wage?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Which way do you mean?


Caroline Russell AM:  There was a hint in the draft Culture Strategy that in the arts people are not being paid properly.  Your research has just borne that out.  Is the research that you have just done going to mean that you will update your Culture Strategy with a more robust recommendation on the cultural industries paying the London Living Wage?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I have already said that I want to see everyone who works in London receiving the London Living Wage.  If you do a hard day’s work or a hard night’s work, you should get decent pay for doing it.  That means that the Good Work Standard I will be launching early next year [2019] will encourage employers of night-time or daytime workers to be Living Wage employers, so of course.


Caroline Russell AM:  I thought the Good Work Standard was being published at the end of this year [2018], but it will be good to see it at the beginning of next year [2019].


Will you have a target for the number London businesses that you want to sign up to the Good Work Standard in the first year?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I should explain the confusion.  The “soft launch” is this year [2018].  That is when we will get some employers on side.  The idea is to have a bigger launch next year [2019].  Once we have some employers onside doing the Good Work Standard, it will encourage others that it is good for businesses to join the Good Work Standard. 


Caroline Russell AM:  That sounds great but will you have a target for the numbers after it has been in place for a year?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Once we launch it properly next year [2019], yes, that is a good idea.  We will have a target and metrics about how we go forward.


We did this sort of thing with the Living Wage.  Since I have become the Mayor, the number of Living Wage employers has gone up hugely at the same time as the Living Wage itself has gone up.  That shows there is a good business case for paying decent pay for a decent day’s work.


Caroline Russell AM:  That is great.  There will be a target in the Good Work Standard when it comes out.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I do not see why it should not.  It is important to have aspiration, but it is also important to have metrics to measure success.


Caroline Russell AM:  That is great.  I am out of time.