Hopes for first Living Wage Zone in the Wharf

By Beth Allcock on November 14, 2012 9:44 AM |

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Canary Wharf could soon be at the forefront of the campaign for a Living Wage, after an ambition for the estate to provide a home for the initiative's first dedicated zone was revealed.

Speaking as part of Living Wage Week at the Canada Square headquarters of supporter KMPG, Rhys Moore, director of the Living Wage Foundation, explained many Wharf-based businesses had voiced their support for the scheme, including Barclays, JP Morgan, HSBC and Clifford Chance.

Host venue KPMG put pen to paper in 2006, joining a campaign which pledges employers to pay a wage calculated according to the real cost of living.

Rhys said: "Canary Wharf is becoming a Living Wage Zone.

"What we would really like is for the second Living Wage Week to also look forward to the first Living Wage Zone in the Wharf. That's a new challenge

"In 2001, the Living Wage was launched by families in east London and the focus was on Canary Wharf as a new-ish neighbour.

"It was there to encourage the tenants in Canary Wharf to sign up to this campaign."

Currently, 100 employers country-wide are signed up to the Living Wage accreditation scheme, with the Lush cosmetics store the sole retail outlet to make the pledge.

Last week, London Mayor Boris Johnson announced the Living Wage for those living in the capital would be increased by 25p per hour to £8.55.

Guy Stallard, head of facilities at KPMG said: "Since introducing the Living Wage we have found very positive feedback from our clients.

"People come through our doors and they really notice the difference in the quality of service.

"We have third-party staff interacting directly with our clients and they want to project the best image of KPMG even though they are not our direct employees.

"Staff turnover has decreased by 40 per cent since we implemented it in 2006, we have increased the quality of our service and our helpdesk has had far fewer complaints.

"Staff are more willing to go that extra mile."

He added that he had implemented the scheme at a neutral cost.

London chairman of KPMG, Richard Reid, said: "It's a testament to all those people, the thousands of them, who are vital to the smooth running of businesses like our own.

"Those people who are in the front offices dealing with people as they come in, those people who serve us tea and coffee and who are in the service side - all those people make a family.

"I believe in a year or two the benefits will really come streaming through.

"I am a big supporter and I know there are a lot of other big supporters in Canary Wharf."