FOUR BRICKBATS AND TWO BOUQUETS FOR BORIS – FROM LABOUR
UNPAID JOBS: The Mayor of London has been accused of “shameless hypocrisy” after City Hall advertised a new round of unpaid entry level jobs.
Successful applicants for the jobs on the traineeship programme at the Greater London Authority (GLA) are expected to commit to three months of work despite no pay being offered.
Labour’s London assembly economic spokeswoman Fiona Twycross said the jobs showed the Mayor’s support for the London living wage was nothing more than “empty rhetoric.”
The traineeship programme, which is advertised in the ‘jobs’ section of the City Hall website, requires applicants to commit to a 12 week placement with successful applicants expected to undertake administrative tasks such as photocopying, filing and event support.
Despite all the hallmarks of an entry level job the ‘trainees’ will not receive a wage for their work.
Despite being on record as stating that “all formal GLA work experience should pay the London living wage” when asked by Fiona Twycross about the unpaid nature of the traineeship scheme Boris Johnson said it “would not be appropriate” to pay trainees.
He justified this on the basis that the traineeships helped participants “to become ready to access an apprenticeship programme or to obtain work” though even with the trainees guaranteed a place at the apprenticeship assessment centre not one of last year’s five trainees made it on to the GLA’s own apprenticeship programme.
Fiona Twycross added: “There are no two ways about it; if you’re in work you should be being paid. “It’s really that simple.
“It is shameless hypocrisy on the Mayor’s part to publically support the living wage whilst forcing young people to work unpaid for three months at City Hall. “Boris Johnson’s failure to even pay some of his own staff shows his support for the low paid is nothing more than empty rhetoric.”
In a letter to Fiona Twycross GLA officers confirmed that last year “all the trainees took part in the selection process for GLA apprenticeships. “Unfortunately none were successful at securing a GLA apprenticeship due to highly competitive nature of the selection process and the large number of high quality candidates.”
Fiona Twycross is a Londonwide assembly member
NIGHT TUBE: Commenting on the announcement of another 24hr tube strike by Aslef members from 5th August, Labour’s London assembly transport spokeswoman Val Shawcross said:
“Last week’s tube strike was deeply disruptive to many Londoners. “What made the situation worse was that the Mayor could have avoided it had he engaged and properly negotiated with staff.
“With another strike on the horizon it’s time for Boris Johnson to tone down the rhetoric and start focusing on resolving this dispute before Londoners are forced to endure another day of travel chaos.
“The fact is that everyone wants the night tube to work, it’s just got to be done right. “Londoners elected Boris to lead the capital, that means talking to the unions and finding a resolution, not sitting on the side-lines throwing insults around.
“The night tube will be a great innovation for London it but it will have an enormous impact on thousands of staff who deserve a fair deal.
“By announcing the night tube without any prior consultation or negotiation with the staff he expected to run it Boris Johnson has caused many of the problems we face today.
“Whilst its welcome that TfL has finally shown a willingness to give some ground in the negotiations, this strike is going to be deeply disruptive for millions of Londoners. “The Mayor should be doing all he can to resolve the situation he has helped to create.”
Val Shawcross is the London assembly member for Lambeth and Southwark
WATER CANNON: Commenting on the Home Secretary’s decision to refuse permission for water cannon use in London, Labour’s London assembly policing spokeswoman Joanne McCartney said:
“I welcome that the Home Secretary has seen sense and decided to block the use of water cannon in London. “Water cannon are dangerous and bluntly indiscriminate weapons which have no place on the streets of our capital city.
“Boris Johnson’s militant posturing has already meant hundreds of thousands of pounds wasted on these now defunct weapons. “It’s time for the Mayor to accept defeat and to sell off the water cannon before yet more money is unnecessarily spent on their upkeep.
“Refusing to give up the water cannon would show the Mayor is more interested in fighting with the Home Secretary than he in is taking London’s real policing needs seriously.
“As the Home Affairs select committee concluded after the 2011 riots, what London needs is more police officers on the streets, not water cannon which would have only inflamed the situation.”
Joanne McCartney is the Labour London assembly member for Enfield and Haringey.
AIR POLLUTION: Responding to new research from King’s College London showing that nearly 10,000 Londoners will die prematurely each year as a result of air pollution, Labour’s London assembly environment spokesman Murad Qureshi AM said:
“This research demonstrates that air pollution is one of the most serious public health emergencies facing London.
“Despite almost 10,000 Londoners dying every year, the Mayor has dithered and delayed when it comes to tackling our toxic air.
“It’s time for the Mayor to get serious about air quality. “That means expanding the proposed ultra-low emissions zone and allowing London boroughs to opt in should they wish. “It should be an indisputable right to breathe clean air, not an option extra as the Mayor is currently treating it.”
Murad Qureshi is a Londonwide assembly member
PURE ELECTRIC DOUBLE DECKER BUS: Responding to the Mayor of London’s announcement that London’s first pure electric double-decker bus will be trialled in October, Labour’s London assembly transport spokeswoman Val Shawcross AM said:
“After years of calling on the Mayor to roll-out electric buses to help tackle London’s worsening air pollution, it’s fantastic to see the world’s first electric double decker will be on London’s streets by October.
“This has to be more than just a one-off headline grabber. “With London’s bus fleet contributing to the capital’s ever growing air pollution crisis, we need a plan to make environmentally friendly vehicles the rule not the exception.
“With Boris’ new Routemasters set to be amongst the most polluting vehicles on our roads by 2020, you could easily conclude that this is all too little, too late.”
NEW NATIONAL LIVING WAGE: Under questioning from Fiona Twycross the Mayor of London has accepted the need for a London weighting to the Chancellor’s new ‘National Living Wage’.
The Mayor warned that he is on the brink of a breakthrough deal with a major London retailer, which would make it the first large retailer to pay the London Living Wage (currently set at £9.15 an hour), and that the deal could now be undermined by the Chancellor’s ‘National Living Wage’ (to be set at £7.20).
Speaking in response to questioning from Fiona Twycross the Mayor said: “We should be absolutely clear to London business that it is not going to be good to just pay the National Living Wage as that does not reflect the cost of living in London.”
“There is a risk of confusion, “I want that confusion to be dispelled and I want everybody to be going for the London Living Wage.”
Labour’s London assembly economic spokeswoman Fiona Twycross said: “Even the Mayor now recognises that the Chancellor’s ‘National Living Wage’ is a con unless it includes a substantial additional weighting for London. “In the capital £7.20 isn’t anywhere near a living wage and would leave hundreds of thousands of low paid workers struggling to survive.
“The GLA has said that without tax credits, the true London Living Wage would have to rise to £11.65. “Promoting £7.20 as a living wage is cynical gesture politics when the truth is it would reverse much of the progress we have made in recent years.”
Fiona Twycross is a Londonwide Assembly Member (Sources: GLA Labour party press releases).