I am a school governor in Newham and I am planning to go to the borough Governors' Forum on Tuesday evening at the town hall. As a governor I have raised the following question :-
London Living Wage
How many Schools are London Living Wage employers (as defined by the GLA including agency and contractors)?
A reply was published in the agenda from a Newham Council officer explaining that all directly employed staff should be paid above the London Living Wage (currently £10.20 per hour). However, it was admitted that some staff may be paid less and that a letter will be sent out to all Chairs and Headteachers requesting them to ensure that all directly employed staff are paid at least £10.20 per hour.
This is well and good but does not answer my question about how many schools are London Living Wage employers (which they can only get this accredication if you include agency and in-house contractors).
I know for a fact that some schools in Newham have agency staff working there who are earning the minimum wage of £7.50 per hour. Of course these staff are also on zero hour contracts, receive no sick pay or pensions and have to opt out of the 48 hour working time restrictions. These are overwhelmingly female and Newham residents.
This must be challenged and the case for a London Living Wage for all school staff (and all within Newham Council) must be made. I will see what happens on Tuesday.
I think that this can be part of a wider argument in Newham against academisation and supporting schools who want to remain part of the Newham family of schools. Much of the opposition from school staff to academisation is driven by the well founded fear that it will lead to a race to the bottom in terms and conditions. Especially for low paid manual and administration staff.
All workers in Newham should be paid a real living wage and receive other decent terms and conditions. I wonder how many workers in Westfield Shopping Centre are on minimum wage? I will ask London Citizens. I recently heard some horror stories of young people being forced to work unpaid hours during the night at Westfields as part of a "job interview" process and then being told the next day they had not been successful.