Making the City Work: Low paid employment in London

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This report is about the low paid workers who keep London ‘working’: the city’s cleaners, hotel workers, and care assistants. Such workers provide vital services. Without them, London would grind to a halt. Yet very little is known about the people who do such jobs, or about the conditions in which they work. For example, London’s Underground system relies on the labour of thousands of people who clean the trains each night ready for the morning rush hour. In every top West End hotel an army of cleaners, porters, kitchen staff and maids ensure the smooth and efficient service for which such hotels are famed. Although vital to the continued functioning of London’s economy, these workers are rarely seen by the public or the customers who take such services for granted.
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  Making the City Work:Low Paid Employment in London November 2005 Yara Evans, Joanna Herbert, Kavita Datta, Jon May, Cathy McIlwaine and Jane Wills Department of GeographyQueen Mary, University of LondonMile End, London E1 4NS ISBN: 0-902-23818-3  1 CONTENTS List of tables and figures 2Acknowledgements3Executive Summary4 SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION AND METHODOLOGY Introduction6Methodology8 SECTION 2: KEY FINDINGS Part 1: London's low paid workers10Part 2: Pay and conditions 12Part 3: Living in London14 SECTION 3: SUMMARY OF SECTORS Part 1: Cleaning London's Underground17Part 2: Office cleaning and other services21Part 3: Hotel and hospitality work24Part 4: Care work27Conclusions30References32Appendix 1: The questionnaire33  2 TABLES AND FIGURES Table 1:   Sample of Respondents by Sector 8Table 2: Respondents’ Region of Origin 10Table 3: Respondents’ Hourly Rates of Pay 12Table 4: Respondents’ Reasons for Migrating to the UK 15Table 5: Respondents’ Household Composition 15Table 6:Main Employers in Cleaning London’s Underground 17Table 7: Hourly Rates of Pay for Cleaning London’s Underground18Table 8: Dislikes about the Job: London Underground Cleaners 19Table 9: Main Employers in Office Cleaning and Other Services 21Table10: Hourly Rate of Pay for Office Cleaning and Other Services 22Table 11: Dislikes about the Job: Office and Contract Cleaners 23Table 12: Hourly Rate of Pay for Hotel and Hospitality 25Table 13: Dislikes about the Job: Hotel and Hospitality Workers26Table 14: Hourly Rate of Pay in Care Work27Table 15: Dislikes about the Job: Care workers 29Figure 1: Place of Residence of Low Paid Workers in London 14  3 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS We are very grateful for financial support for this project from the Economic andSocial Research Council (ESRC), the Greater London Authority (GLA), Oxfam,Queen Mary, University of London and UNISON. This assistance was facilitated byJohn Ross, Catherine May, Jaap van der Meer and Deborah Littman. Many thanks toyou all. The project was conceived by Neil Jameson, Catherine Howarth and DeborahLittman from London Citizens and the research was designed and directed by theauthors at Queen Mary, University of London. The research formed part of a larger ESRC-funded research project entitled ‘Global Cities at Work: migrant workers inlow paid employment in London’, which is running until 2008.During July 2005 London Citizens employed eleven researchers, mainlyundergraduate and postgraduate students, to work on this project. We would thus liketo acknowledge and thank Nana Adu-Kwapong, Alana Bates, Elaine Ho, CatherineFinney, Ciara Silke, Marisol Reyes, Tracey McAndrews, Kombo Lovemore, Amir Malik, Mohammed Ali, and Anna Majcherek who did a fantastic job in contacting andinterviewing workers employed in low paid jobs in London. The quality and scale of the data collected is down to their hard work and enthusiasm. We would also like tothank Andrew Crossley, Jordan Estevao, Matthew Bolton, Neil Jameson andCatherine Howarth, at London Citizens, for their contribution and support throughoutthe Summer Academy.We also worked very closely with a number of representatives from trade unions inLondon during the course of the project and are very grateful for both practical and political support from Paul Davies and Hugh O’Shea from the Transport and GeneralWorkers’ Union (T&G), Glenroy Watson from the Rail, Maritime and Transportunion (RMT), Greg Thomson and Tanya Palmer from UNISON and Tahir Bhatti andHiten Vaidya from Britain's General Union (GMB). Many thanks to everyone whomade this research possible, and not least, the workers who were willing to take partand tell us about their conditions of work.Thanks to Kelly Burrows for designing the cover and Philip Wolmuth for the cover  photography.
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