Fair Frome and the Living Wage (not the higher national minimum wage for over 25s)

©David Chedgy Photography_FTC_Frome Chamber Commerce Discuss and Do_Amy Hulme Living Wage Talk_26th April 2015_97A0534 (1)
©David Chedgy Photography Amy Hulme (Living Wage Foundation Programme Manager), Bob Ashford (Chair Fair Frome), Beata Mallender, (Manager Nationwide, Frome) & Nigel Harris (President Frome Chamber of Commerce)


Fair Frome & The Living Wage…

There are many people in Frome who have jobs but 46 families need food parcels from Fair Frome every month to feed their families. How can this be?

The Living Wage Foundation has been campaigning for the implementation of a ‘Real’ Living Wage (see here for the current rate) since 2011. Unlike the recently announced ‘National’ Living Wage, the ‘Real’ Living Wage is calculated on the cost of living, working out what families need to survive. Unlike the government-driven Living Wage, it also covers the under 25s and is voluntary.

At a recent “Discuss and Do” event aimed at supporting local businesses and employers  (organised monthly by Frome Town Council and Frome Chamber of Commerce)  Fair Frome discussed the benefits to Frome businesses of signing up to the Living Wage Foundation and paying all staff a minimum of £8.25 per hour.  Amy Hulme from The Living Wage Foundation, Beata Mallender Branch Manager at Frome Nationwide (one of four existing Living Wage employers in Frome) outlined the business as well as the social benefits of paying the Living Wage. They told us how it helps to recruit and keep the best employees and shows up in reduced absenteeism, and improved quality of work. Beata Mallender from Nationwide Frome said:

“Nationwide continues to be great place to work because of the efforts of every single employee. We can all be proud of what we do and where we work every day for our colleagues and for our customers – and together we continue to prove that doing the right thing drives our success.

Nationwide has ended up being one of the best companies to work for in 2016, and I truly believe that our top ranking was due in part to our efforts to make sure everybody feels valued, which is a priority for the Society. It also acknowledges Nationwide ongoing investment in employee wellbeing.

I believe that paying Nationwide employees and those who regularly working for Nationwide the Living Wage is a clear demonstration of our commitment to do the right thing – for Nationwide employees, Nationwide members and communities in which we operate.”

Paying a living wage also affects shoppers. Surveys have shown that 70% of consumers would choose to shop in a Living Wage retail chain.

Andrew Prince of Studio Prints said: ‘We are just about to sign up! Despite the increased costs, we think it will  make us both a great employer and  help us to sell to large retailers who are themselves Living Wage members and want to do business with ethical suppliers’’

Bob Ashford, Chair of Fair Frome, said: ‘Fair Frome are launching a campaign to get Frome businesses to sign up as we think it will really help to reduce inequality in Frome. We are very excited to work with local businesses and the town council and chamber to get Frome leading the way in ‘doing good business’, improving employment and reducing poverty.

Fair Frome are working with the Living Wage Foundation to encourage and support businesses in Frome who are interested in accreditation with the Foundation. For more information please contact [email protected]