Every little helps according to Tesco, which is why a fair pay campaign group are calling for the supermarket to improve staff wages in Milton Keynes.
Citizens:MK is an alliance of several community groups, and has been campaigning for several years for local firms to adopt the Living Wage and not just the minimum wage.
Last week the group altered price tags in the Wolverton branch of Tesco, illustrating their call for better pay for staff.
They then met with the store manager, presenting him with a letter that outlined their concerns.
Citizens:MK campaign leader Debbie Wilson said: “We are calling on Tesco to think about how implementing the Living Wage could help tackle in-work poverty for their lowest paid
“The manager said he would pass the letter up to head office. Then we’ll see if we need to take up any further action; I feel empowered.”
The Living Wage is calculated to be the amount of pay per hour needed for a worker to support a family with the ‘essentials of life’. It is currently set at £7.65 an hour outside London, compared to the minimum wage of £6.31 an hour.
Local organisations signed up for Living Wage accreditation include the Open University and MK Citizens Advice Bureau, while Milton Keynes Council is taking steps to join too.
“It’s the way we believe we should value our staff,” said Niz Smith, CEO of Milton Keynes charity Works For Us.
“As a charity that helps people to gain employment we wanted to be seen to be part of setting a standard. We don’t want to help people into work and yet leave them in poverty.”
A Tesco spokesperson said: “We pay one of the highest hourly rates in the industry, on average between five and eight per cent more than our major competitors.
“The Living Wage only recognises basic pay, but our reward package is much broader than that. When our colleague discount, Shares in Success scheme and employer pension contributions are taken into account, all our staff receive above the living wage, both in London and in the rest of the UK.”
What do you think of the Living Wage? Is it something that local companies should all be paying, or are times already tight for the local economy? Email firstname.lastname@example.org