National Express West Midlands has today committed to become the region’s largest accredited private sector Living Wage employer with all staff guaranteed the Living Wage from 2016. The pledge will directly benefit 340 local workers’ at the beginning of next year – a move that has been welcomed by politicians and trade unions.
National Express will be the first private transport group in the UK to become an accredited Living Wage employer, with employees of its coach and rail operations also guaranteed the Living Wage by the end of 2017.
As well as pledging to pay all UK employees the Living Wage, National Express will also be ensuring the same for all agency and contracted staff.
The company’s pledge to ensure that all members of staff earn a Living Wage has been welcomed by senior politicians and trade unionists including Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin, Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband and Regional Director of Unite Gerard Coyne.
The Living Wage is currently £7.85 an hour, outside of London, compared to the national minimum wage of £6.50.
Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said:
"I welcome National Express' decision to become a Living Wage employer. This important step will have a real impact and demonstrates the success of our transport sector. National Express plays a vital role in helping people go about their daily business."
Ed Miliband, Leader of the Opposition said:
“The announcement that National Express will become a living wage employer is fantastic news for their employees and an example of courage and leadership in the business community. We will support more firms to make this move with a tax break for those that do so in the first year of a Labour Government.”
Peter Coates Managing Director of National Express UK Bus said:
“All of our staff do a great job ensuring that the West Midlands keeps moving and that hundreds of thousands of people get to work, school and college each day. It is important that we appropriately recognise their hard work. Becoming a Living Wage employer clearly signifies our determination to be a good employer to all our staff.”
Gerard Coyne, Regional Director of Unite said:
"This announcement is great news for the 340 staff directly affected and shows National Express' commitment to be a good employer to all its staff. I would like to see more big companies in the West Midlands follow their lead and pay the Living Wage."
The Living Wage Foundation also welcomed the news. Rhys Moore, director, Living Wage Foundation said:
“It’s fantastic news that National Express has committed to accrediting as a Living Wage employer and we look forward to working with them as they roll out the Living Wage to their directly employed team, and their contracted staff, across their bus, coach and rail businesses.
“Over 1,200 organisations are now accredited Living Wage employers across the UK. National Express will be the first transport group to accredit, and we hope their announcement today and the leadership that they are showing, will lay down a marker in the transport sector.
“We hope that more well-known brands, and increasingly their customers, will see the benefits of the Living Wage in their communities.
“The Living Wage is a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.”
Published 13th March 2015