Some of the discounts enticing people to sign up for Hackney Council’s new recycling rewards scheme are being offered by companies that fail to pay London Living Wage, despite Mayor Philip Glanville’s recent calls for local businesses to do just that.
One such employer is the Hackney Picturehouse, where staff are planning a second, Harry Potter-themed protest over the cinema’s refusal to pay the recommended living wage in the capital.
The Green Party’s Samir Jeraj says the council has “missed an opportunity” to use the rewards scheme to promote companies who have take action on low pay. He said: “The council should be looking at how it can use the powers it has across all its services to make companies do the right thing and help tackle poverty pay in Hackney.
“The fact that the announcements coincided is a bitter irony. I hope they look again at the scheme and how it’s promoted. It is farcical that they can condemn low pay on one hand, while giving the companies free publicity on the other.”
A spokesman for Hackney Council said: “When we set up Hackney Recycling Rewards, we made sure that the contractor appointed to deliver the scheme pays staff the London Living Wage, including the temporary staff canvassing all homes in the borough over the next few months.
“The purpose of the offers and discounts is to provide benefits to members across the borough and we are delighted that over 100 independent businesses have signed up. We recently called on all businesses in the borough to pay the London Living Wage – this includes those offering Hackney Recycling Rewards discounts.
“Hackney Recycling Rewards is a three-year programme, and we will continue to encourage and support local businesses involved to pay the London Living Wage.”