Indie cinema promises to pay London living wage

Lewisham Mayor Damien Egan with Catford Mews Employees. Pic: Councillor Joe Dromey

Independent cinema, Catford Mews, has signed up to be Lewisham’s 80th real living wage employer, promising to pay its staff the London living wage.

The living wage is the amount calculated by the Living Wage Foundation, based on the wage needed to meet the cost of living.

Catford Mews is an independent three screen cinema with café, bar and five local food vendors, plus a community room and a live music space.

This week is Living Wage Week and the foundation has set the wage as £10.75 an hour for people in London and £9 for the rest of the UK. The wage is based on an estimation of what people need to live, including the cost of housing, travel and childcare.

The Government’s national living wage for workers aged 25 and over is currently set at £8.21 an hour. The real living wage rates are higher as they are independently-calculated based on what people need to get by.

The Living Wage Foundation “encourages all employers that can afford to do so to ensure their employees earn a wage that meets the costs of living, not just the government minimum.”

In 2012, Lewisham Council became the joint-first local authority to become an accredited living wage employer and aims to increase the number of living wage employers to 100 by May 2022.

The Council brought in a business rate discount in 2016 which aims to encourage businesses to pay employees the living wage. Employers receive a one-off discount on their business rate bill for paying its employees the living wage. Since the introduction of the business rate discount, the number of living wage employers in Lewisham has risen from eight to 77.

Councillor Joe Dromey, cabinet lead for employment and skills, said: “The living wage campaign has made a real difference for our community, putting nearly £750,000 in the pocket of low paid workers locally. But there is a long way to go. We are calling on all employers in Lewisham to do the right thing, and pay at least the Living Wage.”

One in five jobs in London including 14,000 workers in Lewisham are paid below the living wage.

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