The need for a REAL living wage

 In Employment, News

Over the last decade precarious working arrangements have become entrenched in some parts of the economy. Many people experience changes in hours from week-to-week that make it difficult to plan, others are unable to get enough hours to cover their living costs. As a result, there are now over 5 million people in insecure work paid less than the real Living Wage, 2 million of which are parents (The Living Wage Foundation, 2018).

This represents the story of Rashed; a young man with lots of ambition and his sights firmly set on becoming a husband and hopefully a father, but before that could be achieved he needed to find stable employment which is why he came to ELBA.

Rashed had struggled to find employment after leaving school and entered the family restaurant business at 18.  He worked hard, often completing 16 hours shifts 7 days per week, but wanted to build a career of his own in a sector of his choosing.

“I wanted to get out of the family comfort and work towards something that I enjoyed, something that I can proudly say that I worked hard for without the help of my family. I wanted to be a self -made man and not just inherit the fortunes my father worked hard for.”

So, Rashed went to university with plans to establish his own cleaning company and in 2016 secured full-time employment as a security guard as a step towards this ultimate goal.   Whilst his employment started well, in 2018 he was placed onto a zero hours’ contract which is when life became very difficult.  He slowly started to notice his hours reducing to the point where he was only being offered the odd shift each month which in turn began to affect his finances, his home life and his general wellbeing.

Rashed was introduced to ELBA at this point – he was keen to stay within the security sector and by working with Ian Walker, Project Manager, they were able to identify a more stable job opportunity with ISS which Rashed went on to secure. Rashed now has a full time job, working Monday to Friday in a corporate environment and is loving life.

“With the right support around me, especially my family and friends like you (Ian), I didn’t give up. I couldn’t give up. I have a lot responsibilities and expectations. I can’t comprehend failure at any cost. I just keep going until I find a solution. The job gives a security which is much needed. And I am glad the reward of my patience is bearing fruit now.”

ELBA has long lobbied for employers to demonstrate responsible recruitment and retention practices.  We are proud that our members have adopted the London Living Wage and would now encourage all to consider introducing the new Living Hours standard, developed by The Living Wage Foundation.

Please click here to find out more.

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