Natalie Bennett backs Barbican cleaners’ fight for a real living wage

30 October 2015

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett is to join a protest by cleaners at the Barbican Centre tomorrow (Saturday 31 October), as they demand a real living wage and contractual sick pay.

Speaking days before the Living Wage Foundation announces its new living wage rate on Monday, Bennett called on the government to introduce a living wage for all workers in its Autumn Statement, rather than its planned increase in the minimum wage for over-25s. [1]

The Barbican cleaners, employed by MITIE, won the London living wage in 2013, but MITIE only pays the new rate, set out by the Living Wage Foundation each November, from May each year – meaning the cleaners’ pay does not keep pace with the cost of living. The staff, who are members of the United Voices of the World union, have also been campaigning for contractual sick pay and against MITIE’s use of the government’s Workfare programme and what they call the ‘victimisation’ of union members. 

Bennett said:

“The cleaners at the Barbican have my full support in their fight for a real living wage, contractual sick pay and an end to trade union victimisation.

“With the new living wage rate being announced on Monday, based on what it really costs to have a decent standard of living, the inadequacies of the government’s planned increase in the minimum wage for over 25-year-olds will be stark.

“The government must use its Autumn Statement to make the minimum wage a real living wage, so that all employers are obliged to pay wages that the workers who generate their profits can build a life on.”



1. The current living wage is £7.85, or £9.15 in London. The Living Wage Foundation will announce a new rate on Monday 2 November. The government announced plans in its Budget this year to increase the national minimum wage from £6.50 to £7.20 for over-25-year-olds from next April.

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