Nestlé announced as first major manufacturer to become a 'Living Wage' employer in the UK

To Press Releases listGatwick,Jun 30, 2014

Nestlé is today announcing that it has received accreditation as a Living Wage employer in the UK.

The accreditation covers approximately 8,000 employees across Nestlé UK and its sister companies, which include: Nestlé Nutrition, Nestlé Professional, Nestlé Waters and Nestlé Purina Petcare.

Nestlé UK & Ireland Chairman and CEO, Fiona Kendrick said: “We are proud to be the first mainstream manufacturer in the UK to become a Living Wage employer and see this as an opportunity to be a positive influence in our sector.

“As a major UK employer, we know that this is the right thing to do. Not only does it benefit our employees but also the communities they live and work in.”

Living Wage Foundation Director, Rhys Moore said: “The accreditation of Nestlé as a Living Wage employer marks a significant milestone in the campaign to tackle in-work poverty. Nestlé is the first FMCG company to join the Living Wage movement, bringing the Living Wage to every shelf, shop and home in the UK. We hope that the leadership they have shown will encourage others in this industry to follow suit and improve conditions for those at the lowest end of the pay scale and sub-contracted staff.

“We are aware that Nestlé is going above and beyond the basic requirements of becoming an accredited employer, and is extending their commitment to graduate, internship and school leaver programmes. This is fantastic news, demonstrating that businesses who can, should do more wherever possible.”

Nestlé has been working in partnership with its trade union partners, Unite, GMB and USDAW on the journey towards accreditation, and are pleased to have their full backing and support throughout this process.

Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite said: “We are delighted to have worked with Nestlé to secure a living wage for all staff directly and indirectly employed by the company. It was secured in the spirit of cooperation and a willingness to start to tackle poverty pay in a traditionally low paying sector. 

“With in-work poverty on the rise, many employers are simply ignoring their responsibility to pay staff a decent wage. They should take note from Nestlé’s positive stance which shows that paying a living wage is not just good for communities but makes good business sense too.”

Paul Kenny, General Secretary of the GMB Union said: “It just shows what can be achieved when a decent employer works together with progressive unions. Over 2.5m people who are paid the national minimum wage have to top up their pay with welfare benefits to put a roof over their heads and feed the family. It's ordinary tax payers subsidising bad employment practice and that has to stop.

“Nestle have always recognised their greatest asset is their workforce and are demonstrating this with action, not just words. This shows once and for all that if one leading manufacturer can pay a living wage to all employees including young workers and those contracted out then many more are able to do so and the GMB will fight to ensure our members get a decent wage for a good day’s work. 

“The GMB look forward to working with Nestle to further develop the living wage principle”

Staff employed directly by Nestlé UK are already paid the Living Wage. The Company will now work closely with contractors to ensure that their employees working across Nestlé sites will also be paid the UK Living Wage by December 2017.

As part of the Company’s ongoing commitment to the Nestlé Youth Employment Initiative, which provides employment opportunities to young people under 30, the Living Wage will also apply to the company’s  graduate,  internship and Fast Start school leaver programmes.

News of the announcement has also been welcomed by the Archbishop of York who last week announced the findings from the Living Wage Commission report urging more employers to sign up to the Living Wage.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said: “I’d like to commend Nestlé for its voluntary commitment to take up the living wage for its employees.  This is a very encouraging step and it is my hope that other organisations will follow their lead.  The emerging recovery means that thousands more businesses are now able to pay a Living Wage to all of their staff – those that can afford to do this should be encouraged to do it without delay. We must seize this opportunity to end income inequality that has left many people in work living in poverty and strive for fairer pay for all”.

Welcoming the announcement Business Secretary Vince Cable MP said: “I welcome Nestlé’s decision and encourage all businesses to pay their staff above the minimum wage when it is affordable and not at the expense of jobs.”

Also commenting, Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna MP said: “It is fantastic news that Nestle is announcing its accreditation as a Living Wage employer, having worked in collaboration with Unite, GMB and the Living Wage Foundation to achieve this.
 
“We want to see as many businesses as possible take the decision to become Living Wage employers, so I hope other firms will follow the strong example which Nestle is setting.
 
“Labour would act to help even more businesses pay the Living Wage by providing new incentives so employers can see the benefits of the lower social security payments, and higher income to the exchequer, which result from the Living Wage.”

John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary added: “We are delighted to have worked with the company to make Nestlé a living wage employer. Low pay is a serious issue for workers and their families in the current cost of living crisis, so it is important that employers pay a proper wage to help staff make ends meet.”