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Living Wage

Volume 656: debated on Tuesday 12 March 2019

We pay, both directly as the Ministry of Justice and indirectly through our suppliers, the national living wage in line with legislation.

I thank the Minister for his answer. I hope he is aware that I have previously raised in the House the problems relating to procurement and ensuring that every subcontractor adheres to the same rules as the people directly employed by the Department. Will the Minister ensure that subcontractors also pay all their staff the real living wage?

The point, which is an important one, is that we have to ensure that our subcontractors follow exactly the same rules as Ministry of Justice direct employees. We insist that the national living wage should be paid both to Ministry of Justice employees and to our subcontractors.

Cleaners and security staff at court buildings up and down the country are currently in dispute with outsourcers Mitie and G4S over poverty pay and draconian terms and conditions. The Minister can try to wash his hands of this mess and blame his predecessor’s appalling contracts—he is now wreaking havoc with the Brexit ferries—but when is he himself going to intervene to demand that, under new planned contracts, the hard-working staff who clean and protect his Department’s buildings are paid the real living wage and not exploited by their unscrupulous employers?

I take this opportunity to pay tribute to those staff—the people who maintain the courts and the people who provide the security—who do a very important job. We are absolutely clear that this is a Government policy across the board and that everybody, regardless of whether they are in the private sector or the public sector, is obliged to pay the national living wage.