After an investigation by London’s Evening Standard newspaper revealed that University College London has refused to pay its cleaners the London living wage of £7.85 an hour, both the British Cleaning Council and the Cleaning Support Services Association have urged UCL to open a dialogue with its cleaning contractors. The report alleges that the institution is now the only major university in the capital that does not pay its cleaners a living wage, with similar universities, LSE and Birkbeck, both supporting the policy.
The CSSA and BCC are both on record as pledging their support for the living wage to ensure that workers are adequately remunerated. BCC chairman, Mark Woodhead, said: "We urge UCL to open discussions with the cleaning contractors to see how the London Living Wage can be introduced. There was resistance from some areas of business and politicians when the original minimum wage was launched in 1999, but this policy is now widely accepted as beneficial for everyone."
The living wage campaign was founded in 2001, when over 1000 leaders from London Citizens called on employers to recognise their responsibility to end poverty pay. Since then, both Mayors of London have pledged their support for a living wage to be implemented across London. Newly elected leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, is also a major supporter and emphasised his commitment to the policy during the party’s annual conference: "The living wage is about the dignity of work. It is about showing people should be properly rewarded."