Yesterday’s meeting of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority saw contractor fire station cleaners awarded the London Living Wage of £7.20 an hour after a week of political disagreement.
Last week the fire authority’s Finance, Procurement and Property committee, voted against paying the London Living Wage and the matter was referred to the full committee.
Since then Mayor of London blocked the appointment of a number of Conservative and Liberal Democrat appointees to the body leading to both sides accusing the other of unlawful behaviour.
Earlier this week the Mayor advised the London Assembly he had appointed an additional woman Assembly Member, Angie Bray, to replace one of those nominated by the Conservative Assembly group taking the number of female Assembly Members on the Authority to two and that he had appointed the Conservative and Liberal Democrat nominees from London Councils until the end of August.
Speaking after yesterday’s decision the Mayor said: “This was a hard fought victory against those who prefer poverty pay to a living wage. The members of the fire authority who voted to apply decent wages to their cleaning staff are to be congratulated, but it shows there is a very sharp dividing line on this issue in London.”
Conservative Assembly Member and LFEPA Vice Chairman Brian Coleman warned that the increase in pay could see four stations close.
“Paying London Fire Station cleaners the London Living wage of £7.20,
as Labour’s Val Shawcross suggested, is just ridiculous. A wage hike to
those levels is equivalent to the cost of running four stations.”
we went ahead with this pay deal, the money would have to come from
somewhere and she needs to say where. Do we close four fire stations to
pay for it?”
This claim was later denied by Labour AM and Chair of the London Fire Authority Val Shawcross.
Peter Hulme-Cross, the One London Party Member of LFEPA, decried the vote as “a gimmick” adding “all London’s workers should be paid a living wage, and the best way to ensure it and boost London’s economy is to remove the low-paid from the tax system. It does no good to give office cleaners a slight pay rise if the Chancellor is just going to take it away before they see it.”