Kingston LibDems break Living Wage promise for lowest paid council staff

LibDem-run Kingston Council has secretly gone back on its high profile promise to pay a London Living Wage to all staff.

Kingston Council became an accredited London Living Wage (LLW) employer in November 2019. The policy came about following a campaign by Labour councillors, which was supported by Conservative councillors.

There was much fanfare about this move and it included a reception at which many staff were present, who at that time were not receiving the London Living Wage because they were contractors. However, as soon as positive publicity was achieved, the promise to our worst paid public servants was secretly junked.

Cllr Kevin Davis, Conservative Group Leader, said: “The Conservative group at Kingston Council started the ball rolling in 2015 by awarding the London Living Wage to all directly employed staff. We followed this up by voting through the decision to pay LLW to all contractors. I was absolutely astounded to discover that the LibDems had secretly kicked the pay increase for our lowest paid workers into the long grass.

“I have spoken to some of the staff hit by this heartless wage cut include some of the most important key workers that keep Kingston Council going, and who have worked throughout the lockdown to ensure Council services continue. Kingston’s LibDems have wasted so much money on vanity schemes, yet have failed to pay the relatively small increase to those most in need and most deserving. I call on the Council Leader to implement the agreed London Living Wage to all staff immediately, and to backdate it to when it was first agreed. It’s only fair.”

Cllr Ian George, Conservative spokesman for Engagement, said: “The information given by the LibDems at the London Living Wage Celebration event was quite clear. It stated that all Kingston Council employees and contractors receive the London Living Wage, and that the Council would support contractors to meet these commitments. That was a commitment to London Living wage for all, from that date, not at some random time in the future. Kingston’s frontline key-workers deserve the decent wage they were promised.”