Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz is to write to businesses across Newham to encourage them and others in their supply chains to ensure that all employees are paid at least to the level of the London Living Wage.
The letter, to be jointly signed by Councillor Terry Paul, Cabinet member for finance, will urge them to follow Newham Council's lead in working towards becoming a Living Wage Foundation accredited employer, and also adhere to the Ethical Care Charter established by the Unison trade union.
Newham councillors agreed a motion on Monday evening committing the council to becoming an accredited Living Wage and Care Charter employer in the next financial year. Newham already meets many of the requirements of the Unison charter, which calls on councils to promote employment conditions that offer sustainable pay, conditions and training levels.
Mayor Fiaz said: “Under this administration, Newham will become an accredited Living Wage employer for the first time. We intend leading by example and others in the borough need to follow. That is why I am writing to employers to encourage them to do so.”
Newham has the highest number of low paid workers in London at 36 per cent, and of these almost 40 per cent earn less than the London Living Wage of £10.55 per hour. According to the Child Poverty Action Group in 2017, there were only 13 accredited Living Wage employers in the borough.
Mayor Fiaz said: "The London Living Wage is aimed at paying workers a fair wage to give the poorest in our society a chance to earn a proper and decent living. Continuing to offer low pay in both the public and private sectors is damaging to our residents. All Newham employers should be encouraged to pay their workers at least or above the rate.
"We have demonstrated our commitment in our 2019/20 budget proposals by intending to introduce in a phased way the London Living Wage for our excellent care workers. If all our directly employed staff are to receive the London Living Wage, we would expect that all staff employed by contractors who work for us should receive the same."
At a meeting of Newham's Cabinet meeting last week it was agreed that whatever company has responsibility for enforcing Newham's parking controls from next year will be required to pay all frontline employees and administration staff at the London Living Wage level. In some cases this could mean up to £200 extra per month per person.
The Council will also look at ways at how it could support employers to gain Living Wage accreditation, including incentives around business rates.