National Express leads the way on the living wage

While the Government’s new National Living Wage becomes law this week, hundreds of National Express West Midlands employees have enjoyed a higher rate of pay since the beginning of the year.

The Birmingham based business gained Living Wage accreditation in January, making it the largest Living Wage employer in the West Midlands and the first private transport group to commit to paying its employees the higher, voluntary rate.

The company’s pledge to ensure that all members of staff earn a Living Wage has been welcomed by staff, trade unionists and politicians across the political spectrum, including local MPs Jess Phillips and Colleen Fletcher who have both signed an Early Day Motion.

Jess Phillips, MP for Birmingham Yardley said:

“This shows the way forward and calls on other transport operators and businesses to follow National Express' example and pay the Living Wage.”

Cleaners, canteen workers and administrative staff in the company’s West Midlands division, which includes the Midland Metro, received a pay increase to at least £8.25 an hour, over £1 more than the National Living Wage which comes into force on 1 April. 

As well as pledging to pay all UK employees the Living Wage, National Express is ensuring the same for all agency and contracted staff. 

Eileen Whitemore, Cleaner at National Express West Midlands Acocks Green garage said:

“Being paid the Living Wage gives us the ability to save that little bit more for our grandson’s future and treat the kids to a meal out every now and again. It is not a huge amount per hour but it will make a big difference to us.”

Peter Coates, Managing Director National Express UK Bus said:

"Our staff do a great job helping hundreds of thousands of people get to work and school and to see their family and friends every day. We are always looking at what more we can do to recognise this hard work and our accreditation as a Living Wage employer in the UK testifies to our determination to be the best possible employer.”

Sarah Vero, Director Living Wage Foundation said:

“National Express was the first private transport group to accredit and we hope the leadership that they have shown 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 voluntary Living Wage is a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living; going above the statutory minimums and rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.”

The Living Wage is currently £9.40 an hour in London and £8.25 an hour across the rest of the UK, compared to the national minimum wage of £6.70 and the new minimum wage premium for over 25s called the ‘National Living Wage’ of £7.20 an hour that is being introduced on 1 April 2016. More information on the Living Wage can be found here.

Published 30th March 2016