Thursday, June 14, 2007

London fire service divided on cleaners' pay

LONDON Mayor Ken Livingstone last Monday called upon members of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) to ensure that the London living wage of £7.20 per hour is paid as a minimum to the fire authority’s cleaners, after members of authority’s finance committee were split over the issue.
The fire authority’s finance, procurement and property committee met on Monday to discuss awarding contracts for cleaning fire stations and other premises. But members were evenly divided on the issue.
Now it will now be discussed at the full LFEPA meeting on 21st June.
Three members voted against paying the London living wage to contract cleaners, whilst three voted to ensure that the living wage rate was paid.
The three opposed to the living wage were Brian Coleman Assembly Member (Conservative, Barnet and Camden), Bob Blackman AM (Conservative, Brent and
Harrow) and Cllr Maurice Heaster (Conservative, Wandsworth).
Ken Livingstone said: "This is the nasty wing of politics. It is scandalous that there was an attempt to block the payment of the London living wage to these cleaners.
"We are now seeing relentless attacks on policies to ease cost of living for Londoners on the lowest incomes, from votes on the London Assembly to abolish free bus and tram travel for children, to this attempt to block a decent wage for fire station cleaners.
"The meeting of the fire authority on 21st June should reject the arguments of those who want to pay cleaners a lower wage and I strongly urge fire authority members to vote to pay these cleaners the London living wage.
"The current figure of £7.20 per hour as a basic London living wage is significantly higher than the national minimum wage because of the high cost of housing in London."