GM Living Wage Campaign

News about upcoming campaign events, and Articles from our campaign team and partners. Our news always appears in GM Poverty Action’s fortnightly newsletter, so if you would like to hear from us regularly please sign up here.

Campaign News

No comments

October 17th

It is 17 days to Living Wage Weekthe annual celebration of the Living Wage movement in the UK – which commences on Sunday November 5th, 2017.

We are running three events this year. These events will support the GM Combined Authority led public engagement process for the
proposed GM Good Employment Charter.

Tuesday November 7th  8 – 10am: Hosted by Darren Knight, Chief Officer, Bolton CVS
Venue: Bolton Hub, Bold St, Bolton BL1 1LS

Thursday November 9th  8 – 10am:
Hosted by Ben Gilchrist, Deputy Chief Executive Action Together, Tameside
Venue: First Choice Homes Oldham First Place, 22 Union Street, Oldham. OL1 1BE

Friday 10th November 10.20am – 1pm (this agenda also includes an additional Living Wage item)
Hosted by Alison Page Chief Executive Salford CVS
Venue: The Angel Centre (home of Social adVentures), 1 St Philip’s Pl, Salford M3 6FA

For more information, please see Good Jobs in Greater Manchester: the role of employment charters

We hope you can join us and add your thoughts, suggestions and questions to the creation of a GM Good Employment Charter.

Please contact the GM Living Wage Coordinator, Lynn Sbaih, to let her know you will be attending via 07948549485 or email

October 2nd, 2017

The Real Living Wage is good for business!

Cardiff University’s “The Living Wage Employer Experience” interviewed real Living Wage employers about the impact of accreditation:

• 93% of employers reported they had benefited as a business

• 58% of employers saw an improvement in the motivation of staff

• 50% reported that it had improved both recruitment and retention

• 45% reported that it had improved the quality of applications for Living Wage jobs

• 86% reported that it had enhanced their organisation’s general reputation as an employer

• 64% found that it differentiated them from others in their industry

• 44% reported improved relations with public bodies or politicians

Please visit our partners the Living Wage Foundation to find out more about becoming an accredited Living Wage Employer.

It is 31 days to Living Wage Week the annual celebration of the Living Wage movement in the UK – which commences on Sunday November 5th.

Please watch this space for details of our events, and to get involved come along to the Campaign meeting on October 10th, 2 – 4pm, at 3rd Floor, Church House, 90 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 2GH.

September 6th, 2017

We are now getting ready for Living Wage Week, which commences on Monday the 6th of November this year, when representatives from the Living Wage Foundation will be in Manchester to announce the new Living Wage rate.

Our local Campaign theme during Living Wage Week, will be the Good Employment Charter which was part of Andy Burnham’s Manifesto.  Should you want to know more about employment charters, GMPA’s and IGAU’s “Good jobs in Greater Manchester: the role of employment charters” provides a comprehensive introduction:

You may also know of, or be involved in, plans for a Living Wage Week event. If so please do let us know, so that we can help you share the details of your event, via: our webpage, our regular news slot in this Newsletter, and via our social media.

To help you get involved in all the local Living Wage Week activities and events, we plan to have a Campaign meeting at 2-4pm on Tuesday 10th October, at 3rd Floor, Church House, 90 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 2GH, so please ensure you are signed up to receive details of this meeting, by contacting me by email at or on 07948 549 485.


adminCampaign News
read more

GM Living Wage Employer

No comments

Greater Manchester Living Wage Campaign

Greater Manchester Poverty Action is now hosting the Greater Manchester Living Wage Campaign, having taken it on from Church Action on Poverty. We want to thank Church Action for having convened and hosted the campaign for the last four years. It has been a real success story for Greater Manchester with around eight times more accredited Living Wage employers than at the time of its launch.

Lynn Sbaih, Living Wage campaign coordinator for GM Poverty Action

Dr Lynn Sbaih chairing the National Living Wage Week event in 2016.Pictured with Amy Hulme, Programme Manager at the Living Wage Foundation and Clive Memmott, CEO at the GM Chamber of Commerce.
Photo Credit: Christopher Worrall Photography

Following the resignation of campaign coordinator Alec Spencer, whom we also want to thank for his strategic and unwavering dedication to the cause, we are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Lynn Sbaih as the new coordinator, and therefore the newest addition to the GMPA team. She was already a core team member of the GM Living Wage campaign, and chaired last year’s National Living Wage Week event.

If you would like to support the campaign or to find out more, please contact Lynn at or 07948 549 485


This is a side note, but a very important one! Coincidentally – we started the accreditation process before being approached by Church Action on Poverty about hosting the campaign – GMPA is now an accredited Living Wage employer.We would encourage every employer, large or small, to commit themselves to paying the Living Wage (currently £8.45 per hour outside London) to all of their directly employed and contracted staff by becoming accredited through our partners the Living Wage Foundation.



adminGM Living Wage Employer
read more

No comments

Taking action on local employment issues: how far can voluntary employment charter initiatives take us?

As the Greater Manchester mayoral election approaches, a key issue on the candidates’ agendas is raising employment standards across the city. Greater Manchester Poverty Action has been working with Ceri Hughes from the Inclusive Growth Analysis Unit and Emily Ball from Oxfam GB to examine the role that local employment charters can play in addressing labour market issues such as low-paid, insecure employment. Here, our co-authors Ceri and Emily summarise some of the points of our paper, which you can read here.

What is a local charter?

Local employment charters are voluntary initiatives that set out to describe good employment practices and to recognise those employers that adopt them. A number of local authorities have developed their own employment charters, including Salford and Oldham.

There are some clear reasons for focussing on employment standards in the city region. For one thing, 23% of the jobs done by the residents of Greater Manchester are paid less than the Living Wage and by 2020 the Resolution Foundation estimates that 1 in 6 workers in the region will be on the minimum wage. Meanwhile, 180,000 working-age people have no qualifications which can make it difficult for them to enter and progress in work.

Employment charters may help us to achieve a more inclusive labour market that offers more people the opportunity to take part in rewarding, well-paid work, thereby addressing many causes of in-work poverty.

The impact of voluntary local action on employment standards

Local employment charters can encourage and support employers to change their practices and drive up standards. The charters can provide direction, tools and resources for employers interested in offering good employment as well as helping to establish a standard. This can make some headway in outlining fair and decent pay and employment conditions, recruitment practices, employee engagement and investment in training and development.

However, there are limits to what they can achieve. They are usually voluntary initiatives and tend to engage directly only with a small number of employers. The commitments also usually only address the issues affecting current and potential employees, leaving out those people working within a company’s supply chain. (The Living Wage accreditation scheme is a notable exception and has been promoted through some employment charters.)

Maintaining momentum and pushing for organisational change is challenging, particularly where there is limited resource to support business engagement. Many charters offer ‘incentives’ and an accreditation process to encourage engagement. Some require businesses to sign up to the charter to access council contracts or, in one example, to access a business rate discount for small employers. But regardless of the incentives, charters must be well resourced and regularly promoted and monitored.

An employment charter for Greater Manchester

We argue that for an employment charter for Greater Manchester to be successful, due care and consideration needs to be taken when making choices about its design, implementation and reviewing process.

Recommendations include:

  • Establishing a dedicated independent working group to co-design the charter, with representatives from local authorities, businesses, workers and their representatives, and other stakeholders and experts;
  • Being clear on the expected impact; setting out deliverable and measurable commitments and showing how the charter fits within a wider agenda for inclusive growth;
  • Balancing flexibility, rigour, and incentives for businesses across different sectors to increase engagement;
  • Ensuring robust monitoring is built in along with the resource that is required to support business engagement and accountability.By learning from the strengths and understanding the limitations of existing charters, Greater Manchester could really test the potential
    of voluntary employment charters.
Ceri Hughes, IGAU for Employment Charter article for GM Poverty Action

Ceri Hughes from the IGAU

Emily Ball from Oxfam, W&W article for GM Poverty Action

Emily Ball from Oxfam

read more

No comments

 Better Jobs for Greater Manchester – What Can the Mayor Do?

IGAU logo for GM Poverty Action articleAs part of the ongoing Work and Wages series, Ceri Hughes from the Inclusive Growth Analysis Unit writes about some of the employment challenges facing Greater Manchester, and what the new mayor might do to address them.

Shortly after the election on May 4th the new Mayor for Greater Manchester will take up their post. Their working hours will likely be long but they will also have one of the more rewarding jobs in the city region. Our research shows that 23% of people living in this city are in jobs that pay below the Living Wage, while many more are unable to find work or are doing work that does not match their interests or needs. For example, less than half of working-age disabled people are in work in Greater Manchester (43% compared to 47% for the UK as a whole) and there are also wide disparities in employment rates across the city region.

These are just a few of the symptoms of the flexible, service-oriented labour market that operates across the city region and they won’t be ‘solved’ by one person, but local action can be taken to support people to find work that means something to them.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation have put forward several ideas for improving the quality of jobs in Greater Manchester. One idea is for the Mayor to work with businesses and industry bodies to try to raise productivity in low-paying sectors and boost wages. This would mean turning the focus on sectors such as retail, care and hospitality and could have a real impact: together low paying sectors account for over a third (36%) of the jobs in Greater Manchester. Previous blogs in this series have also called on local leadership to establish a Living Wage Zone in Greater Manchester and in a forthcoming paper we will also consider the role that employment charters can play in changing employment practices and raising standards for people in Greater Manchester.

The point is not just to tackle low pay but also to create opportunities for people to move into rewarding and better paid roles. Oldham, for example, is now trialling a Careers Advancement Service that aims to support 400 low skilled residents to progress in work. The Mayor could build on this initiative, trialling different approaches to support people to progress in work. We also urgently need find ways to support the long-term unemployed, disabled people and others that have not been served well by mainstream employment support services.

IGAU Work and Wages what can the GM Mayor do for GM Poverty Action

Ceri Hughes

This is only the start, but it hopefully illustrates that the Mayor can play a decisive role in championing these issues. There is scope for them to work with, and lessons to learn from, existing projects across Greater Manchester and elsewhere.

Suggested actions for the Mayor and city region leadership:

Work with businesses and industry bodies to develop strategies to raise productivity in low-paying sectors;

Take on the employment challenges facing the long-term unemployed and others.

Test employment support programmes that build on the evidence and extend support to those who move in to low-wage work;

Find out more about these ideas, or get in touch to share your own  @Ceridwenhughes

Further reading: JRF Mayoral Briefing Paper
and IGAU “How the Mayor can help to deliver inclusive growth”  


read more