Up to 1,000 young people in London are believed to have been ‘short changed’ by the capital’s largest social enterprise leisure services’ provider Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) which is not paying the London ‘living wage’ (LLW) in six boroughs to those aged 18-to-20.

Unite, the country’s largest trade union, said that GLL has contracts to run services, such as libraries and swimming pools, with nine London boroughs which have the LLW accreditation, awarded by the London Living Wage Foundation.

Local councils are meant to insist that organisations with outsourcing contracts, such as GLL, should pay the voluntary LLW currently £10.20 an hour – but Unite said that only those aged 18-20 working on GLL contracts in Greenwich, Hackney and Islington are receiving the full amount.

Those aged 18-20 working for GLL in Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Lambeth, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest are only paid £8.10 an hour.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “Unite’s investigations have exposed a running sore of a scandal that, we believe, has deprived up to 1,000 people working on zero hour contracts in six London boroughs of hundreds of pounds in ‘lost’ wages.

“London is one of the world’s most expensive cities – yet GLL, that boasts it is a social enterprise organisation, is short changing young people. This must stop immediately.

“Councils with the accreditation are supposed to write into their outsourcing contracts that the LLW must be paid to all employees aged over 18.

“Unite is demanding that the councils insist on this and that GLL honours the London ‘living wage’ in principle and also in practice.

“Unite has a written response from GLL stating that it does not pay the LLW to staff aged 18 – 20. This goes against the conditions under which GLL gained these contracts in all councils with accreditation status.

“In addition, casual staff over 21 will only be getting the LLW from April 2018 - yet these staff should have been getting the LLW rate from the date that the council had accreditation - in some cases, this goes back years.

“Two-thirds of GLL’s total workforce staff of 10,000 across the country, covering all ages, are on casual contracts.”

Unite regional officer for young members Mercedes Sanchez said: “Local authorities - proud to have the LLW accreditation - which do not check if contractors are in compliance have some explaining to do.

“Unite has been requesting access to council reports which set out the promised ‘efficiencies’ proposed by GLL. Access has been refused on so-called ‘confidentiality’ grounds.

“This is a poverty pay scandal hitting young people in London which must now be urgently addressed.”


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact the Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065 Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.