Activate your money for Living Wages

31st May 2011 by

Guest post by Juliette Daigre from Fair Pensions

When was the last time you contacted your bank? I’m willing to bet it was for something pretty head-ache provoking – finding out why the bank has inexplicably stopped sending you statements, or how some one appears to have been able to use your bank card to buy furniture.

It’s time to make conversations with your bank a whole lot more interesting. When you pop into your local bank branch, do you know how much the cashier is getting paid? What about the security guard or the cleaner? Next time you visit, why not ask them?

Across the country, workers at some of the best-known high street banks struggle to survive on poverty wages. Whilst these banks award their top executives bonuses worth millions of pounds, they continue to employ people – in particular contract workers such as cleaners – on minimum wage, making less in a year than those at the top make every week.

And at a time when Britain is facing massive public service cuts and inflation is on the rise, it is becoming ever more difficult for low paid workers to get by. Despite working several jobs – keeping them away from their family and communities and often at cost to their health – workers still struggle to meet costs for housing, food and other basic needs.

I work for shareholder activism charity FairPensions, and we’re trying to curb the shocking pay gap by pushing for the adoption of Living Wages by some of the UK’s biggest and best known companies – starting with the banks, but we’ve got our sights on some other high-street names too…

You might feel cash-strapped, but the money – no matter how little! – you hold in your bank account gives you real power to influence companies’ behaviour. Banks want you – they want your student overdraft, and most importantly they want your loyalty. And so as their customer, when you speak, they will listen. If together we organise our money by asking banks to pay their workers a Living Wage, we have a real chance to lift families out of the grim reality of working poverty.

Ask your bank to pay Living Wages at: www.activateyourmoney.org


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