Nestlé commits to paying Living Wage

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Employment

Kendrick: 'right thing to do'
Kendrick: 'right thing to do'
Business secretary Vince Cable praised Nestlé yesterday (June 30) as the first mainstream manufacturer to gain Living Wage accreditation, recognising its efforts to pay realistic living costs beyond minimum wage.

Cable said: “I welcome Nestlé’s decision and encourage all businesses to pay their staff above the minimum wage when it is affordable and not at the expense of jobs.”

Staff employed directly by Nestlé UK are already paid a Living Wage. The company said it would now work closely with contractors to ensure employees across its sites will also get the same treatment by December 2017.

The accreditation covers 8,000 employees across Nestlé UK and sister companies, including Nestlé Nutrition, Nestlé Professional, Nestlé Waters and Nestlé Purina Petcare.

As part of the food giant’s Nestlé Youth Employment Initiative, which offers work opportunities to young people aged below 30, the Living Wage will also cover its graduate, internship and Fast Start school leaver programmes.

‘Positive influence’

Nestlé UK & Ireland chairman and ceo Fiona Kendrick said: “We are proud to be the first mainstream manufacturer in the UK to become a Living Wage employer and see this as an opportunity to be a positive influence in our sector.

“As a major UK employer, we know that this is the right thing to do. Not only does it benefit our employees but also the communities they live and work in.”

Living Wage Foundation director, Rhys Moore said Nestlé’s accreditation as a Living Wage employer marked a “significant milestone in the campaign to tackle in-work poverty”.

“Nestlé is the first FMCG ​[fast moving consumer goods] company to join the Living Wage movement, bringing the Living Wage to every shelf, shop and home in the UK,” ​said Moore.


Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna called it “fantastic news”​, adding: “Labour would act to help even more businesses pay the Living Wage by providing new incentives so employers can see the benefits of the lower social security payments, and higher income to the exchequer, which result from the Living Wage.”​ 

Nestlé worked with trade union partners Unite, GMB and the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) to gain the accreditation.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said:​ “With in-work poverty on the rise, many employers are simply ignoring their responsibility to pay staff a decent wage. They should take note from Nestlé’s positive stance which shows that paying a living wage is not just good for communities but makes good business sense too.”

‘Bad employment practice’

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny added: “Over 2.5M people who are paid the national minimum wage have to top up their pay with welfare benefits to put a roof over their heads and feed the family. It’s ordinary tax payers subsidising bad employment practice and that has to stop.​”

News of the announcement has also been welcomed by the Archbishop of York who last week announced the findings from the Living Wage Commission report urging more employers to sign up to the Living Wage. 

Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu commented: “The emerging recovery means that thousands more businesses are now able to pay a Living Wage to all of their staff – those that can afford to do this should be encouraged to do it without delay.”

The news comes after Nestlé teamed up with Coca-Cola Enterprises last week to hold events promoting National Women in Engineering Day​.

That followed the announcement of its job creation initiative, offering those aged under 30 1,900 job opportunities in the next three years​.

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