Fund firms urge companies to pay staff a fair wage

63 companies in the FTSE 100 are yet to ensure staff are paid a real living wage, investors say

A leading group of asset owners and fund managers with assets in excess of £180bn have written to UK-listed companies urging them to sign up to the Living Wage Foundation.

A total of 15 organisations including Candriam Investors, Hermes Investment Management, Edentree Investment Management and pensions provider Nest, signed the letter urging companies to sign up to the code and pay a real living wage.

The campaign has been coordinated by Share Action and is urging British employers to pay a living wage of £10.55 an hour in London and £9 an hour outside of London. The current London living wage is currently £10.20 an hour, across all boroughs in Greater London. The charity says that adopting a living wage has many corporate benefits including reduced staff turnover, higher retention rates, and improved employee relations.

“Paying workers the living wage brings clear benefits such as driving up the performance of workers and boosting the business’ reputation, which should make the employer more profitable and successful,” Diandra Soobiah, head of responsible investment at Nest, said in a statement.

“As a pension scheme with more than seven million savers we need to achieve the best possible investment returns on their behalf. That’s why we’re calling on the companies we invest in to do the right thing and sign up to the living wage.”

Hermes Investment Management’s Amy Wilson was also among those to endorse the Share Action campaign in a media statement on Monday.

She said: “We want to see companies focus on the longevity and productivity of their business operations, and there is considerable evidence that paying the living wage helps to achieve these objectives.”

The joint statement explained that there are around four million workers in the UK that are considered to be in poverty, despite being in employment.