Hospitality employers in London should be paying their workers a minimum of £7.20 per hour, according to the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone.
The call came as Livingstone announced the new living rate for the capital following a report by the Living Wage Unit.
The report found that anyone earning less than £6.25 an hour is at or below the poverty level in London - even after taking into account tax credits and benefits. This is significantly above the National Minimum Wage level of £5.35, largely because of the high cost of housing in London.
"The London living wage is vital to ensure the capital retains a skilled, committed workforce and this applies to those who provide all the essential services - without which London would grind to a halt," Livingstone said.
"Since the establishment of a recognised London living wage, employers and unions are increasingly using it in negotiations and setting wage rates."
Steve Hart, regional secretary at the Transport and General Workers' Union, which represents a number of hospitality and catering workers in London, said: "The creation of the London living wage was a bold move by the mayor and it is the minimum that responsible employers should be paying to keep their workforce out of poverty.
"It's now about getting it in practice throughout the public and private sectors."
By Daniel Thomas
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