Yom Rivii, 12 AdarI 5781
Wednesday, 24 February 2021
Rabbi Janet leads Living Wage protest

living_wage_whitehallOn Monday July 21 at 8am, cleaners of government departments (supported by Citizens UK) joined Rabbi Janet Darley and more than 100 supporters to protest along Whitehall and launch the Living Wage League Table. 

 The focus of the protest was those Government departments and associated Ministers paying poverty wages and languishing at the bottom of the Whitehall Living Wage League Table.

South London Liberal Synagogue’s Rabbi Janet Darley, a team from Liberal Judaism and the government cleaners ‘cleaned up’ outside the worst offending departments armed with mops, brooms and dusters. Rabbi Janet, Father Simon Cuff and Mohammed, a cleaner at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, then delivered a letter and wooden spoon to DEFRA, the department at the bottom of the league table.

A winners cup was awarded to Ed Davey MP at the Department for Energy & Climate Change, for being the latest department to commit to becoming a Living Wage employer.

The Whitehall Living Wage League Table, launched by Citizens UK, reveals the hourly rates that cleaners are currently paid in each Government department, as well as announcing which ministers have already met with this crucial target of becoming Living Wage employers.

While some departments now pay the London Living Wage of £8.80 per hour, others are far behind on the minimum wage of £6.31.

Rabbi Janet said: “They told me it was difficult because cleaners are outsourced. I responded that with Lambeth Citizens, South London Liberal Synagogue has made sure that Lambeth Council's outsourced cleaners are paid a Living Wage.

“This is a Jewish value - a full day's work deserves a fair day's pay. That is why Liberal Judaism have committed to the Living Wage, the first of all synagogal movements to do so".

Mohammed, who earns £6.31 per hour, added: “I’ve been working in Whitehall for 13 years. I work from 7.30am to 8.30pm and I’m a father to three young children so I have to pay childcare costs.

“Every year the cost of food, council tax, utility bills and a bus pass goes up, but my pay hardly changes. I currently receive £6.31 per hour, which is not enough. There is nothing left at the end of the month. There’s no time to cook when I get home, my whole life is work.”

For more information, visit http://www.livingwage.org.uk/