Further to my blog yesterday about the danger of Tesco paying ‘slave wages’ in its new store which is part of the Streatham Hub development, I have received a response from Leader of Lambeth Council Steve Reed.
He told me that rather than getting assurances from Tesco about fair wages for workers in Streatham, Lambeth will rely on ‘the law’ as determined by the Conservative/ Lib Dem Coalition.
As this feature on Newsnight last night showed clearly (and I covered yesterday) the Government however is not protecting workers. In fact it is encouraging their exploitation – and this is precisely why Lambeth Council needed to use its influence.
With its acceptance of the bribe from central Government to freeze council tax and its ruthless cuts which are hitting the disabled, Labour controlled Lambeth is looking more and more Conservative by the day.
There are of course alternatives. Indeed, Labour’s failure to get assurances from Tesco to protect workers in Lambeth is an example of huge double standards. As the Newsnight piece points out, an alternative is to get employers to commit to paying a “Living Wage” to employees. The Green Party in fact successfully campaigned to get Lambeth Council to pay a “Living Wage” to its employees. It seems however that what is good enough for the Council, is not good enough for workers in Lambeth.
[Update 12.40pm 17/2/12: HT to @Jason_Cobb for pointing out that Lambeth have form for paying lip service to the Living Wage. First of all they tried to block it. Then they refused to extend it out to Lambeth's contracted out workers.]