National Express leads the way with the Living Wage
National Express coach station duty manager Paul Keegan, Customer Service Manager Steve McCloughlin and Jack Dromey MP celebrate the accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation
National Express UK has been applauded for leading the way in the Living Wage movement with its pledge to pay all of its UK employees the voluntary, higher real Living Wage.
The leading transport provider is celebrating its accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation as part of Living Wage Week (Monday 5th to Friday 9th November 2018) for rolling out the rates across all of its UK businesses. It makes National Express the largest private sector employer in both the West Midlands and UK public transport to be officially recognised by the Foundation.
The move will benefit more than 240 employees, most of whom work in the UK Coach business, in addition to the existing 350 UK bus staff who were moved onto the wage in 2016.
The voluntary rise was put in place in January 2018 and has increased pay for roles including customer service advisors, drivers and cleaners to at least £8.75 an hour (£10.20 in London), higher than the statutory Living Wage of £7.38 for under 25s and £7.83 for over 25s.
As well as pledging to pay its UK staff the real Living Wage, National Express has ensured all agency and contracted staff are included in this increase and is working with its partner operators to ensure their employees are also paid the real Living Wage by 2020.
National Express Group Chief Executive Dean Finch said:
"We were the first private transport group to commit to the real Living Wage in 2016 and made a pledge at the time that all our employees would receive a real Living Wage that meets the costs of living, not just the statutory minimum. I’m delighted that the entire UK business is now accredited as a Living Wage employer and nearly 600 staff have benefited from the increase. They work incredibly hard to transport millions of passengers a year all over the country and it’s important that we recognise their efforts.”
Tess Lanning, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said:
“We’re delighted that National Express is extending its Living Wage commitment to include all of the UK Group businesses, including National Express UK Coach. Responsible businesses know that the government minimum is not enough to live on. Employers, like National Express, that pay the real Living Wage enable their workers to live a life of dignity, supporting them to pay off debts and meet the pressures of rising bills.”
22 year old National Express Customer Service Advisor Ashley Robinson, based at Birmingham Coach Station, said:
“Being paid the real Living Wage is benefitting me a lot. At the moment I’m living with my parents and the increase is helping me save for my future home. It is also helping me to do something I have always wanted to do which is to be a guard on the Severn Valley Railway. The role is voluntary and training requires lots of equipment which the Living Wage is enabling me to pay for.”
Philip Walchester, an Administrator with National Express West Midlands, said:
“Without being on the real Living Wage, my partner and I could have really struggled with getting our mortgage, buying a house and being able to start a family. It’s refreshing to have an employer who gives me the feeling they want to invest in me, my health, my wellbeing and my future – and not just get labour for the cheapest outlay in the short term."
Customer Service Advisor David Jukowski-Wall, based at Birmingham Coach Station, said:
“The pay rise has meant I was able to finish my driving lessons, pass my test and buy a car, which is a massive help. I’ve also been able to put more money away each month in savings so I’m looking to buy a home on the Help to Buy scheme soon.”
Customer Service Advisor Lina Merazcieva, who works in the contact centre in Birmingham, said:
“That I can send a little more money to my parents in Bulgaria every month is great. I’ve also been able to help my cousin to buy a car. That makes me happy.”
In 2015 National Express became the first private transport group in the country to commit to be a Living Wage Foundation employer and was the first private transport group to pay the voluntary real Living Wage in the West Midlands in 2016.