The Independent Workers of Great Britain union has suggested to the CPO Inquiry Inspector that ‘unless John Lewis make an immediate commitment to implement the LLW for all outsourced staff’, it ‘should automatically be disbarred from participation in the Whitgift Area scheme’.
This hit a raw nerve with the Council;s Inquiry team because at today’s session Jo Negrini, the Executive Director of Development and Environment, was asked by it to comment.
Mss Negrini replied that inferences that all retail and leisure jobs are low paid is wrong; there are a wide range of jobs. The Council is seeking to ensure there is a range of jobs inc. e.g. for those with low skills and for young people. She had had responsibility in dealing with the Westfield Stratford scheme. There 300 long term unemployed people had been employed by John Lewis, across a range of jobs including two at management level. The Council is committed to skills based training provision. It is setting up a brokerage scheme, and has linked up with skills training providers Croydon and John Ruskin Colleges. When the administration changed in May the Council became a London Living Wage authority and is encouraging all partners to sign up to it. John Lewis provides real job opportunities. She declined to common on the issue of the cleaners.
Independent Workers of Great Britain union email 4 March for Inspector’s attention
I am writing on behalf of the Independent Workers of Great Britain union (IWGB) with regard to the Whitgift Area CPO Inquiry, and would be grateful if you can pass this onto Inspector Paul Griffiths.
We understand that John Lewis have recently signed a provisional agreement to become the anchor retail store for the Westfield/Hammerson development of the Whitgift Area scheme in Croydon Town Centre currently subject to this CPO Inquiry.
However, Croydon Council which adopted the CPO passed a policy to make Croydon a London Living Wage Borough, and Westfield has recently signed up to support the London Living Wage (LLW).
We would like to make clear to you that John Lewis is not a LLW employer, continuing to fail to pay its cleaners the LLW despite a lengthy campaign, strike action on behalf of our union and a petition signed by over 130,000 people.
You can find more details here: http://iwgb.org.uk/2015/01/07/john-lewis-cleaners-and-the-fight-for-the-living-wage/.
As such, unless John Lewis make an immediate commitment to implement the LLW for all outsourced staff, then any development which includes one of their stores will be in breach of Croydon Council’s policy on this issue, and should automatically be disbarred from participation in the Whitgift Area scheme.
Please do feel free to contact us for more information on this should you require.
University of London IWGB
In his submission to the Inquiry on the same day Sean Creighton reminded the Inspector that he had emailed him on 5 February ‘expressing concerns about the possible involvement of John Lewis as the proposed anchor department store’, including: ‘A serious problem with John Lewis being the potential store is that at the moment having contracted them out so they are no longer members of the Partnership their cleaners are not being paid the London Living Wage which the Council believes is what people should be paid and which Westfield has recently signed up to.’