Rokas BuÄiÅ«nas is the People & Performance Coordinator for Restless Development, he blogs some answers to the key questions for any international organisation during Living Wage Week
It’s Living Wage Week. But what does that mean?
It means celebrating the growing movement of UK employers who’ve committed to responsible pay. As a Living Wage Employer, we support this incredible initiative whichgrew in size from 12 to 2,200 employers in just four years!
What’s the Living Wage in the UK? As of this week, it’s £9.40 and £8.25 per hour in London and the rest of the country. But the idea behind the rate matters even more, as the living wage recognises the family rather than just the individual, and focuses on social participation and mobility.
The Living Wage in the UK is a great start, but how about the rest of the world?
Did you know – the minimum wage rate in Uganda has not been updated for over thirty years? Or that South Africa does not even have the minimum wage? At Restless Development, we recognise there can be done more to take the Living Wage idea beyond the UK’s borders.
So, we launched our Global Salary Scales, ensuring all of our people – from the UK to Uganda, from Sierra Leone to Nepal – receive a fair and comparable wage in line with the cost of living in each area. It’s a truly unique, transparent and equitable approach. But to make the Global Living wage a reality for all, we need to look beyond ourselves.
We’re proud to be part of the global debate!
When the Living Wage Foundation and KPMG invited many local experts to a global conversation around the living wage, Pheona Namuyaba, our Youth Internship Programme Manager in Uganda, convened and hosted the East Africa discussion, whilst we also contributed to the Southern Africa consultation.
It became clear in the discussions the global concept is rather complicated by lack of enforcement on minimum wage rules, high unemployment, unregulated jobs and corruption. And it gets more complex when you consider different social circumstances. On average, in Uganda and Zambia, working parents have six children they need to support in their family, as opposed to two children in India and Nepal.
So, how to definite the global living wage, when you consider varying family units, health care and education systems and other factors across the global? Luckily, the global discussions led to the formation of high level principles which will help employers set up the living wage globally.
We’ll help spread the word when the final draft of those principles has been agreed and published. For us, it will not be the end of the project. We’re keen to try the principles ourselves and encourage others to commit to them too! We celebrate Living Wage Week in the UK, but we won’t rest until we can celebrate it everywhere.