May was a great month for raising the issue of low pay in the cleaning sector and particularly in domestic cleaning, starting with a chat on Soho Radio on 10th May with Miss Baby Sol and Ben Ramble. These guys were such good fun to chat to and it made me realise that there is still so much work to do in raising awareness of the Living Wage and understanding that private cash payments, no matter which way it is positioned, are exploiting workers’ rights.
You can listen here at 23 mins https://www.mixcloud.com/sohoradio/free-seed-on-soho-10052017/
On the 18th May these issues were addressed in a live TV broadcast interview with Steph McGovern on BBC Breakfast News. Steph questioned how easy it was for employers to pay the Living Wage and I spoke about the challenges that employers face, particularly in certain sectors where there is a dominant black market (cash in hand); grey market (agencies that sub contract to an unregulated workforce) and new emerging “gig” economy (digital platforms linking customer to consumer) who can keep their prices down by taking out the high costs of employing staff. These challenges present difficulties for traditional employers to compete as their prices are considered high in comparison.
The month ended with an interview on BBC 5 Live’s morning programme with Sean Harrington asking my view on Labour’s manifesto declaration to support small business transition from their current rates of pay to a £10 minimum wage from the year 2020 and whether £10 was the right level. I spoke about how important being a recognised service provider of the Living Wage Foundation is to JJC and how important it was personally to make sure that our workers are not only paid a fair wage but that they are also protected with employment rights.
You can listen here at 2:26:50 https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08rsl5m