For the past 150 years, the consensus has held that generating economic growth brings with it economic prosperity for all. Yet an examination of the living standards of low-paid workers over the past decade shows this has been blown apart.
More than half a million employees across the North West of England are paid below the Living Wage. In light of the ongoing cost of living crisis for millions of working families across the country, Frank wrote to the Business Secretary Vince Cable asking whether the Government could give the Low Pay Commission a remit to look at which sectors of the economy could accommodate a Living Wage for employees.
Frank is now campaigning with Usdaw to get a Living Wage paid by firms to employees in both the public and private sectors without government legislation. He has also reiterated calls for the Low Pay Commission to publish 'reference rates' for higher affordable minimum wages in each industry based on wage bills, profits, firm size and other factors so that 1.6 million workers can receive an immediate pay rise.
Frank has identified industries such as banking, manufacturing, construction, food production and computing in which, according to the House of Commons Library, upgrading the pay of all low paid workers to a
Living Wage would add less than 1% to wage bills. In other industries including real estate and transport services, the bite of the National Minimum Wage relative to workers’ pay is lower than the average bite across all sectors.
Frank and Councillor Phil Davies, Leader of Wirral Council, established a North West Living Wage Network in Birkenhead with regional employers, local authorities and trade unions in March 2014. The network will spread best practice through means such as accreditation, procurement and incentives for local employers.
Frank has campaigned for the Living Wage to be implemented by Premier League football clubs, Government departments, high street coffee shops and fast food chains.