Pay Workers a Living Wage

800px-Marks_&_Spencer,_The_Mall_Athens

Target: Marks & Spencer CEO, Marc Bolland

Goal: Pay store workers enough to live on.

Major British food and retail company Marks and Spencer (M&S) has committed to providing a living wage for factory workers in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, yet its workers in the United Kingdom and other countries are still not all paid a living wage. M&S’s Ethical Factory Model has led to significant pay rises in developing countries, proving how a business can be successful and ethical where workers’ salaries are concerned. Unfortunately, workers in the United Kingdom, and particularly in London where living costs are extremely high, are still not paid enough to make ends meet.

The Living Wage Foundation sets the living wage for 2015 at £9.40 ($14) in London and £8.25 ($12) in the rest of the country. These figures are calculated annually by the Greater London Authority and other expert researchers and focus on what households need in order to have a minimum acceptable standard of living.

There are currently 700 accredited London Living Wage employers across London who have provided over 30,000 London workers the benefits of a living wage since 2011. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has said that “paying the London Living Wage is not only morally right, but makes good business sense too.”

Yet, Marks and Spencer lags behind, stating in 2014 that the definition of a living wage was “subject to discussion” as an excuse not to provide its staff with the means to a minimum acceptable standard of living. Considering that M&S is a major retailer, its commitment to paying its workers a living wage may encourage others to do the same. M&S claims that its “commitment to the welfare of [its] employees remains as strong as ever.” Sign this petition and urge the company to act on this commitment and pay its employees a living wage.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Bolland,

Marks and Spencer prides itself on its strong “commitment to the welfare of [its] employees.” Your company recently committed providing a living wage for factory workers in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. This is a great and laudable step. However, M&S workers in the U.K. and other countries deserve the same consideration. Your Ethical Factory Model has led to significant pay rises for workers in developing countries. This proves that a successful business can afford to be ethical where workers’ salaries are concerned.

Unfortunately, your workers in the United Kingdom, and particularly in London where living costs are extremely high, are still not paid enough to make ends meet. Last year, M&S stated that the definition of a living wage was “subject to discussion,” despite the current figures that were calculated by the Greater London Authority and expert researchers. Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, has also said that “paying the London Living Wage is not only morally right, but makes good business sense too.”

I urge you to act on your commitment towards your workers and pay all your staff a living wage.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: GianniM

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