Watch this short video to understand the effect of low wages on the lives of Sandra and Abdul, just two of the five million-plus UK workers now struggling to get by on rock-bottom pay – and the difference a Living Wage can make.
“When you pay someone the Living Wage, it’s about more than just the money, it’s about a life worth living.” - Living Wage Foundation
The Living Wage campaign was launched in 2001 by parents in East London, who were frustrated that working two minimum wage jobs left no time for family life. With 900 Living Wage employers now on board, the movement has made great strides. But in a time of brutal austerity and deepening in-work poverty, there is still much work to be done.
Sandra Sanchez lives in London. She leaves home at dawn before her kids get up, in order to catch two buses to work. She works a full day, before catching two more buses back, arriving home after her kids have gone to bed. If she caught the Tube, she’d save three hours every day. That could be time to get them up and feed them breakfast. Enough time to make them dinner, read them a story, and tuck them up. But she can’t afford it on the minimum wage. So much precious family time lost, simply because she’s not getting the extra 90p an hour she needs to take the train.
But we can make a difference to people’s lives. With support from the Living Wage campaign, Abdul Durant, a minimum-wage cleaner for HSBC, stood up in a shareholder meeting and described the difficulties he had making ends meet, highlighting how different employees of the bank worked in the same office, yet lived in completely different worlds. His speech helped win the Living Wage for all cleaning staff at HSBC.