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London’s Hospitality Sector “the Most Poorly Paid Industry in London”

New analysis by the Living Wage Foundation shows that the hospitality sector has the highest proportions of low-paid jobs in London compared to other industries, with 52.9 percent of jobs that fall under ‘Accommodation and food services’ (official ONS classification of ‘hospitality’) being paid below the London Living Wage, which currently stands at £11.95. With over 100,000 low paid jobs, this sector accounts for almost a fifth (18.7 percent) of all low paid jobs in London, despite accounting for 5 percent of total jobs in the capital.

The new analysis also showed that the issue of low pay adversely affects different age groups, with 62.8 percent of young workers (aged between 18-21) being paid below the London Living Wage.

The UK hospitality sector is comprised of approximately 143,000 businesses and employs around 1.8 million people. The industry also has higher proportions of younger workers, foreign-born workers, part-time workers and workers from minority ethnic backgrounds compared to other sectors

As the cost-of-living crisis continues, many workers and families across the country are feeling the squeeze, with those in the capital being amongst those hit the hardest.

The Making London a Living Wage City project, led by Citizens UK and the Living Wage Foundation, aims to put hundreds of millions of pounds of wages into the pockets of Londoners and lift tens of thousands of workers out of in-work poverty by boosting the number of accredited Living Wage and Living Hours employers across the capital.  

At its heart, the real Living Wage campaign is rooted in communities taking action to ensure workers are paid a wage that reflects the cost of living. With inflation soaring to 10.4% in February, it’s never been more important to make sure workers and their families do not fall into in-work poverty.  

Despite the growth of the movement, low pay remains a big issue, with 13.6% of jobs in London paying less than the real Living Wage 

As well as focusing on the issues around low pay, the project will also tackle precarious work through Living Hours – a standard to help workers get the hours they need to make ends meet and protect them from job insecurity.

Gina Rodriguez, a previous hospitality worker, and leader on the Making London a Living Wage City Steering Group, said:
“With the cost of living crisis, too many low paid workers are now having to worry about whether they can afford to turn the heating on during winter, or if they’ll be able to afford groceries. I know the feeling all too well when I was working in hospitality. As the lowest paid sector in London, hospitality employers must step up and accredit with the Living Wage Foundation to dignify their workers with a wage they can live off.”