By Doug Paulley, AGM activist
We all deserve to be paid a true Living Wage: a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, calculated based on the cost of living. That’s why in summer 2017 I attended Croda International’s AGM, on behalf of ShareAction.
I knew we may be pushing at an open door; and I’m glad to say we were: our approach asking them to consider Living Wage Foundation accreditation was well received.
As a result, Croda met with ShareAction and the Living Wage Foundation, and in March 2018, Croda became the 4,000th UK company to become Living Wage Foundation accredited!
So last week I went to their AGM to congratulate them on their achievement, and to ask them what benefits the Living Wage is bringing them.
Before the “formal” business started, I chatted with Group Chief Executive Steve Foots. He described the Living Wage as a “no-brainer” for such a people-focused company; and he was glad to share the good news around all areas of the company. Tracy Sheedy, Group HR Director told me that Croda’s commitment to the Living Wage had resulted in increasing wages and compliance across other local employers, which is great.
Then the formal business began. I steeled myself to ask my question – the first of several searching questions from the audience. I introduced the subject, and asked:
“In what way do you see this positive investment in your employees as helping to deliver your strategy for the years ahead?”
Croda’s directors told me that they were very grateful ShareAction had brought the Living Wage to their attention which goes to show the power of shareholders
Croda’s directors told me that they were very grateful ShareAction had brought the Living Wage to their attention. It shows the power of listening to shareholders, and they were very happy to move forward. On reviewing their workforce, they discovered that only 10 of their 1,000+ UK employees were paid under the living wage. This was unacceptable given their people culture, and something they sorted out immediately. Now they are working on making sure all their contractors also pay the Living Wage.
People are the most important asset to Croda, as it is people who deliver innovation. They’re proud to be “doing the right thing” and have noticed a morale boost, and the publicity it has generated has also been positive, particularly as they happen to be the 4,000th Living Wage employer.
Afterwards, I persuaded Anita Frew, Group Chair to agree to a selfie with me (thanks Anita!), and I celebrated with the Board and shareholders over posh nosh, in the similarly posh surroundings of the Pavilions of Harrogate.
I guess it just goes to show: AGM activism does make a difference!
Thanks Doug! To learn more about our Living Wage campaign, click here.