By Paolo Nistri, Head of Socio-Economic Regeneration
Shakespeare famously wrote, “the more I give to thee, the more I have”. The Bard’s prophetic words echo today where paying a living wage creates an economy that works for everyone.
At LLDC, we have always worked on the basis that the regeneration of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is for the benefit of the communities who live here. As an organisation, we strive to be as inclusive and progressive as possible, and paying the LLW is a key pillar of our commitment to the principles of fair employment, specifically to fair pay and good working conditions.
Indeed, as an early signatory to the LLW accreditation back in 2013, we have always mandated the payment of the LLW at QEOP to help tackle historically entrenched low pay in the east end of London as part of our commitment to inclusive growth.
Inclusive growth is about ensuring the benefits of the Park’s growth and development are shared by all, particularly those from communities who are traditionally under-represented in the labour market such as those from a BAME background, women, disabled people and from lower income backgrounds.
In particular, in our role as a commissioning authority, we recognise we have a responsibility to maximise social value through the procurement of goods and services and the London Living Wage, which recently increased to £11.05, is a critical element of our social value priorities.
The Park benefits from a multitude of employers working in a myriad of industries and sectors including some, such as cleaning, catering, events, hospitality and leisure, that have been subject to low pay in the past. We see the payment of the LLW as a crucial demonstration that it makes business sense to pay a fair wage and doesn’t commercially compromise any venue or employer on the Park, regardless of sector or job.
Our policy of paying the LLW is also therefore about sending a strong message to other organisations , as studies have shown how LLW has delivered productivity benefits for employers who pay it due to increased worker morale, staff retention, worker health, and improved quality of service.
The Mayor of London has a vision for London to become a Living Wage City and the Park is at the forefront of delivering that objective, and it was a proud moment recently when London Stadium became the first major sporting venue in the UK to be accredited as a LLW building.
But, of course, there is always more than can be done and despite being one of the early drivers of organisations paying LLW – and now with the wider Greater London Authority family on board – we strive to continue to ensure the Park is recognised as a place where everyone receives a fair and living wage.