Urging companies to pay the real Living Wage

We believe that the Living Wage is important because a fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. Ending poverty pay is good for business and good for society – yet 5.5 million workers in the UK earn less than the Living Wage.

In its eighth year, our Living Wage campaign has gone from strength to strength. 43 companies in the FTSE 100 – over one-third – now pay all of their direct staff and UK contractors enough to live off. The most recent Living Wage accreditations include SevernTrent, Barratt Developments one of the largest housebuilders and Reckitt Benkiser, owners of health and cleaning brands including Dettol.

Why this is important and what we’re doing about it

We believe that the Living Wage is important because a fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. Ending poverty pay is good for business and good for society.

At ShareAction, we think that Britain’s biggest companies should take the lead on fair pay, and that starts with the FTSE350. We bring this issue to the fore with the bosses of these companies by mobilising savers and investors to get these companies to commit to ensuring all their staff earn enough to get by.

The Living Wage rates of £10.85 in London and £9.50 for the rest of the UK are independently calculated to meet basic needs for an individual and their family. 43 of the FTSE 100 are now accredited with the Living Wage foundation agreeing to pay at least these rates for all their staff, including those employed through contractors on their UK sites. – this has put £89million back into low paid workers pockets. UK-wide over 7,000 companies have signed up to accreditation standard.  In practice this means the Living Wage has an impact upon more than 68,000 families across the UK – and counting!


With more than half of pension savers saying they want their pension to engage with investee companies about the Living Wage according to a YouGov survey, we’re helping savers take their concern to their pension funds. Hearing from savers gives pension funds, as big investors, a strong impetus to raise the issue with the biggest UK companies.


To make sure these supportive investors have the maximum voice, we mobilise them together in an Investor Collaborative for the Living Wage which calls upon the FTSE350 to adopt the UK Living Wage standard.

Meanwhile, we help keep the public eye on the companies that aren’t stepping up to make sure their workers earn enough to make ends meet.

And it’s been making huge strides! Check out the successes page to see how putting the pressure large companies through investors is making an impact.

Latest news

Campaign resources

Low wage and insecure work in the UK retail sector: An investor briefing and toolkit

This briefing builds on ShareAction’s previous briefings, Insecure Work in Insecure Times and Investing in the Living Wage, and aims to support investors engaging the supermarket retail sector on the Living Wage and insecure work. It makes the case for raising wages and improving working conditions – starting with retail workers but moving to encompass all workers in the food production system.


Investing in the Living Wage: A toolkit for responsible investors

This toolkit is primarily designed to help investors in UK markets understand how and why to encourage their portfolio companies to adopt the real Living Wage, as calculated in the UK by the Living Wage Foundation (LWF). It was produced in partnership with the Living Wage Foundation.


Get in touch

Martin Buttle

Martin Buttle

Head of Good Work