Leisure, gym and swimming pool organisation Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) has committed to paying all employees, including those aged between 18 and 20, the London living wage rate of £10.20 an hour.
Currently, staff aged between 18 and 20 earn £8.10 an hour, and employees aged 21 or older are paid £10.20 an hour.
The pay increase, which will benefit 30 GLL employees aged between 18 and 20, will be effective from September 2018 and backdated to April 2018.
Originally, Tower Hamlets Council and GLL renegotiated to ensure all employees would be paid the London living wage rate of pay from April 2019, however this date has now been moved forwards. All future contracts covering employees at GLL will include the stipulation that staff are paid the London living wage.
The living wage is an independently set hourly rate of pay, calculated according to the basic costs of living. Employers pay the living wage rate, which is updated annually, on a voluntary basis. The living wage is currently set at £8.75 an hour for employees across the UK, and £10.20 an hour for staff based in London. The higher London living wage reflects the increased living costs associated with residing in the capital.
The voluntary living wage is distinct from the statutory national living wage, which is paid to employees aged 25 and over. The national living wage rate is currently set at £7.83 an hour.
Mark Sesnan, managing director at GLL, said: “GLL is a social enterprise which means we share the benefits of our unique business model with staff and customers. We support payment of [the] living wage in all our contracts and we are delighted that Tower Hamlets Council have agreed to bring this forward, benefiting even more young [employees].”
Onay Kasab, regional officer at trade union Unite, added: “We regard this as a significant victory in our campaign to achieve [London living wage] pay justice for young people employed in London boroughs by GLL.
“Tower Hamlets had originally agreed with GLL that [employees] under 21 would have to wait until April 2019 to get the [London living wage], despite [employees] aged 21 and over doing the same work and getting the [London living wage].
“Our campaign putting GLL and Tower Hamlets under the spotlight has led to GLL agreeing to pay for and bring forward the increase to September this year and the council paying for the increase from April. This is a great win for young [employees]. We made the point, again and again, that the high cost of living in London impacts on [employees] no matter what [their] age. There is no young person’s discount on food and rent, and so there should be no age discrimination on wages either.
“We believe that up to 1,000 young people in London have been ‘short changed’ by GLL over the [London living wage] and we will not cease our fight until pay justice has been achieved for young people working for GLL in one of the world’s most expensive cities.”