Calls for a living wage in London

05 October 2005
Calls for a living wage in London

More than 60 hotel and catering members of the GMB and T&G unions demonstrated last week in support of a living wage for London.

They gathered outside the InterContinental Hyde Park hotel to protest at its lay-off of workers on minimum redundancy pay as the hotel undergoes a six month refurbishment, which began last weekend (1 October).

Demonstrators also targeted Thistle Hotels's Kensington property, which they claimed has not increased staff salaries for a couple of years.

InterContinental said it had paid eligible staff an enhanced redundancy packaged related to length of service and set up job fairs. Thistle declined to comment

The protests mark the start of a campaign by the unions to achieve an hourly wage of £6.70 for all employees in London to offset high housing costs.

The living wage has the support of London Mayor Ken Livingstone and Raj Gill, GMB organiser of the demonstrations, said they would be pressing him to demand all Olympic Game contractors pay staff the £6.70 minimum.

On Saturday, 1 October, the minimum hourly rate increased from £4.85 to £5.05 for adults, and from £4.10 to £4.25 for 18-to-21-year-olds. The youth rate for 16 and 17-year-olds was unchanged at £3 per hour.

By Angela Frewin

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