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‘Where is our living wage?’ ask Islington park workers

PUBLISHED: 06:00 10 June 2011

Islington Council leader Catherine West

Islington Council leader Catherine West

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»Workers who look after Islington’s parks and green spaces have asked where their money is – after the council trumpeted its commitment to paying all staff at least £8.30 an hour.

Grounds maintenance workers who tend to parks such as Islington Green were shocked to read in the Gazette that all council staff should get at least the London Living Wage of £8.30.

They say they are struggling to get by on wages as low as £6 an hour – and say it is unfair that they lose out on up to £92 a week just because they are employed through a contractor.

John Tiplady, 62, who earns £6.70 an hour and is employed by the firm Enterprise to carry out gardening and maintenance work for the council, said: “I don’t understand why they are saying council workers are supposed to get more than £8 an hour, but we don’t. It’s unfair.”

One of his colleagues, a 46-year-old Finsbury Park man on £6 an hour, who did not want to be named, said: “I’m losing out on over £90 a week by not getting the living wage.

“They need to pay up and put their money where their mouth is.”

Backlog

Islington Council’s leader Councillor Catherine West insisted paying the London Living Wage to contracted staff was a priority. But she could not guarantee that Mr Tiplady and his colleagues would see any rise.

Cllr West said: “As a new council, we inherited a backlog of contracts that don’t pay the living wage.

“We aspire to change it on contracts as they come up. But by law we have to achieve value for money for tax payers.”

Enterprise declined to comment.


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