Beyond Clapping & Banging Pans

Claire Wright, St James’s Assistant Churchwarden, has worked as a nurse midwife, community educator and NHS children’s services manager and writes her first blog about the importance of the Real Living Wage.

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Care worker giving an old lady her dinner in her home.

Like many people, at 8pm on Thursdays in the early days of the pandemic, I clapped for our NHS workers and carers.  It felt good to do something, to say thank you to the NHS staff, carers and key workers who kept us going at time when we really didn’t know what was going to happened next.

However, claps don’t pay the bills, and for some of those key workers, low pay is an ongoing issue.

The Living Wage is £11.05 per hour, it is estimated to be the amount people need to be able to live a happy, healthy family life, without having to choose between meals, food, rent and the occasional necessities like going to the dentist.  It is thought that 50% of care workers in the UK earn less than the living wage. In London this rises to around 85% with women and people of colour experiencing the lowest pay.

Citizens UK is a grassroots organization that brings together member organizations in a local area to campaign on issues that matter to them. St James’s has been a member of Citizens UK for several years, but it can sometimes be difficult for a congregated church to identify and come together on an issue that makes sense to everyone, but maybe a living wage for everyone is one such issue.  Citizens UK is campaigning to ask every employer to step up and ensure that all their staff and contractors, from cleaners, security guards to catering staff get at least the real Living Wage.  In 2022, a Living Wage for all care staff is a priority for Citizens UK.

Three women holding Living wage campaign posters


Save the Date: Taking Action On The Living Wage for Health And Social Care Workers – Wednesday 30th March 1-4pm

This is an issue that affects all of our families and communities. Join with hundreds of Citizens UK members from across England to campaign to secure England’s Health & Social Care Workers a Real Living Wage.  When: Wednesday 30th March 1-4pm. Where: Parliament Square Tea Party 1-2pm, followed by an assembly 2.30-3.30pm in a nearby venue.  Those attending will be encouraged to invite their MPs to the Tea Party in Parliament Square, and we will be working to get a question asked in Prime Minister’s Questions on the day.  Local Health and Social Care Workers will also be invited, and help towards travel and salary costs will be available.

If you are interested in being involved in developing this action, are personally affected by this issue, or have a story to tell, please contact Claire Wright or after the Sunday Service.