Britain’s largest union, Unite, hailed Unilever UK’s accreditation as a living wage employer (Monday 2 November) as a victory for low paid workers on the road to better pay, but warned the move could be undermined if the government presses ahead with controversial cuts to tax credits.
Unite the biggest union at Unilever representing over 2,000 workers, had been pressing the firm to become a living wage employer for over a year. Today’s announcement benefits around 500 indirectly employed and outsourced workers including security, canteen and cleaning staff.
It also commits Unilever to working with key suppliers to encourage a living wage approach and ensure regular contractors move to paying a living wage in the next 18 months.
Unite national officer Rhys McCarthy said: “This is a welcome move by Unilever which will benefit low paid workers on the road to better pay. It’s a ‘win, win’ decision which comes after a year-long campaign by Unite and follows on from our work with other employers such as Nestle UK to become living wage employers.
“The announcement by Unilever once again shows the vital role trade unions play in bringing fairness and justice to the workplace. Not only is it a victory for low paid workers, but it highlights how Unite works with employers day in day out to improve the pay and conditions working people across the UK.
“Government ministers pushing through their unnecessary ideological Trade Union bill should take note and recognise that far from being the ‘enemy within’, trade unions are a force for good.
"George Osborne needs to recognise too, that the benefits felt by those affected by Unilever's announcement will be short lived if he presses ahead with his disastrous plans to cut tax credits."
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.