Branch Secretary : info@housingworkers.org.uk
  

Hestia workers paid under London Living Wage

“We remain committed to paying the London Living Wage for all staff whilst recognising the challenges that the current commissioning climate has on this and in 2018-19 we were able to offer the first increase in basic salaries for staff in over 10 years.” - Hestia, Consolidated Financial Statement March 2017-2018, pg 18, para 3.

 

 

Collective grievances

 

 

Staff at a number of services run by Hestia Housing and Support are currently receiving less than the London Living Wage. This is despite these services being commissioned by Local Authorities that are accredited London Living Wage employers. Staff in services commissioned by London Living Wage Boroughs are entitled to it under third party contracts.

 

 

Hestia has also appeared to present itself as a London Living Wage employer within company policies and in its most recent financial statement. 

 

 

 

 

Staff at two of the affected services put in a collective grievance requesting their pay be increased with immediate effect and for back payments remedying their failure to receive the Living Wage.

 

 

Back payments

 

 

Hestia are claiming that they are not contractually obliged to pay their staff the London Living Wage and that therefore staff are not entitled to back payments. This contradicts information received from both the London Living Wage Foundation and Tower Hamlets, one of the Local Authorities commissioning Hestia’s services. 

 

 

The Head of Procurement at Tower Hamlets is currently investigating the issue and we are told they are taking it very seriously. We are yet to hear back from Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, Ealing, or Kingston, but hope they also recognise the severity of the situation and take action to remedy it. 

 

 

In their responses to staff’s concerns, Hestia have demonstrated a worrying lack of understanding regarding both the purpose of the London Living Wage and the way in which it is intended to function.

 

 

No Christmas bonus

 

 

Staff at Hestia did not receive their Christmas bonuses this year. For its lowest-paid workers, that money makes a difference. For Hestia to have done this during a year in which staff have worked harder than ever under unprecedented circumstances is incredibly disappointing. That many of them have not even received the London Living Wage for this work is shocking.

 

 

Workers are rightfully shocked by the behaviour of their employer and Unite membership within the organisation has been growing throughout this campaign as a result. We hope that pressure from the membership, along with the support from the Local Authorities involved, will give Hestia the push they need to do the right thing and give their workers the back payments they are entitled to. 

 

 

January 4 2021

 

 

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