Mayor of London Sadiq Khan
The Mayor of London has vowed to make London the best place in the world in which to work by tackling low pay, improving workplace conditions and boosting diversity.
Khan believes that getting to grips with inequalities and unfairness in the workplace is crucial to ensuring that London’s economy remains robust and sustainable.
Launching a call for evidence on his new ‘Good Work Standard‘, Khan promised to ‘roll up his sleeves’ and engage directly with employers, encouraging them to sign up to the standard to promote economic fairness and best practice in employment.
The mayor is now asking businesses and other employers to advise him on what they think should be included in and promoted through the Standard.
Essential requirements are likely to include London Living Wage accreditation, and compliance with a set of basic standards to ensure workers are treated fairly.
Beyond that, employers will be asked to work towards higher standards and best practice in areas such as flexible working, workplace diversity, ongoing skills development and employee voice.
The Mayor is also keen to hear how the Standard can support the spread of opportunity and increase social integration and social mobility.
Employers will be asked specifically what can be done to support people working in sectors where low pay, poor progression or other poor workplace practices are more commonly found.
Later in the year, Khan will host a series of public evidence-gathering sessions to highlight the problems experienced at work and find examples of best practice that could be used as a template across the city.
Fulfilling a manifesto commitment, the mayor hopes this will kick start a major London-wide conversation about the future of work in the capital.
Khan said: “I promised to be the most pro-business Mayor London has ever seen and I firmly believe that a strong economy and a fairer city should go hand in hand.
“London is the best city in the world in which to do business – I want it to be the best city in the world in which to work as well.
“My team and I regularly have the privilege of meeting with business leaders from across all sectors, and I know that many of them share in this ambition.
“I am looking forward to meeting even more over the coming weeks and months as I roll up my sleeves to tackle low pay and workplace inequality, and ensure that employers are supported to share and adopt best practice in employment standards.
“We have one of the most dynamic and prosperous economies in the world – but I am determined to personally use this opportunity to strike up a serious conversation about the future of employment and how we can ensure prosperity is shared so all Londoners can benefit from the city’s success.”
Khan believes that certain aspects of London’s economy are unfair. Not all workers enjoy adequate workplace rights or receive at least the London Living Wage; some groups face discrimination in the labour market; pay gaps exist between women and men and those from BAME groups are paid less than white groups.
With half of FTSE 100 companies not having any BAME directors and fewer than ten per cent of directors in these companies being women* the Standard is also likely to include a pledge to encouraging diversity in the workplace.
Khan believes that businesses and employers of all shapes and sizes should become more diverse to reflect the ethnic make-up of the city.
Matthew Bolton from London Citizens said: "This is a great move by the mayor and we welcome his leadership and promotion of responsible business practice across our city.
“Last year the mayor addressed 6,000 members of London Citizens and pledged to encourage businesses to accredit as London Living Wage Employers; ensuring that their lowest paid workers could earn at least enough to live on.
“We anticipate that the mayor’s Good Work Standard will make a big impact and that many more Londoners will feel the positive effects of a better wage."
Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO, Virgin Money and a member of the mayor’s Business Advisory Board, said: “I am passionate about the potential of business as a force for good and welcome the mayor’s Good Work Standard initiative.
“We cannot and must not build the success of a few by exploiting the many. Business leaders have a responsibility to society and good business creates a virtuous circle for everyone.
“Strong business ethics, improved diversity and paying the living wage are just some of the ways in which we can restore trust in business, drive the economy and bring growing prosperity to everyone.”
Megan Dobney, Regional Secretary for the Trades Union Congress in London, said: “I am pleased to see that the mayor is putting the rights of workers at the heart of his business agenda.
“Strong and urgent action is needed to boost equality in the workplace - whether that is boosting wages or improving diversity.
“This consultation on the new Good Work Standard can help act as a catalyst to improve working conditions, promote economic fairness and ensure all Londoners are able to share in London’s prosperity.”
It is intended that participating organisations who sign up to the Good Work Standard will be recognised on the london.gov.uk website and employers with outstanding practices will be celebrated by the mayor.