​Students help West London Citizens win ‘Campaign of the Year’ at Living Wage Award

United Colleges Group (UCG) is celebrating after its students helped the West London Citizens Living Wage for Health and Social care team win the ‘Campaign of the Year’ Award for Outstanding Campaign for a Real Living Wage.

At last night’s Living Wage Champion Awards ceremony at the National Football Museum in Manchester, UCG, as part of West London Citizens Living Wage for Health and Social care team, was recognised for its successful campaign to grow the real Living Wage in the past year and win the Living Wage for 1,500 NHS contractors.

The initiative has been crucial in helping to spread the real Living Wage in West London by campaigning for London Living Wage for Health and Social care workers, specifically NHS contractors at six of the nine NHS trusts based in NW London.

This year UCG students have been instrumental in nurturing the growth of the Living Wage network to nearly 13,000 Living Wage Employers.

  • November 2022: 80 leaders from 14 institutions form across West London descended on Charing Cross hospital to highlight the importance of a real Living Wage at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust The trust revealed on that day, due to the encouragement of campaigners, they had applied for Living Wage Accreditation.
  • December 2022: Westminster Alliance, led by City of Westminster College Health and Social care students, were next to step up. The college’s Paddington campus is a short bus ride from Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust, so they decided to take action to encourage the trust to increase the pay of its lowest paid contracted staff.
    • Students succeeded in running the action themselves and gave a powerful testimony, spoke to the press and helped to ensure that the action ran smoothly and efficiently.
    • They then took the campaign to Parliament. They met Nickie Aiken MP, who agreed that pay was extremely important for these valuable workers - and she also agreed to write to the NHS Trust and encourage them to accredit as Living Wage employer.

Katherine Chapman, Director, Living Wage Foundation, said: "Given the challenges of the past three years, the record increase in Living Wage Employers is truly remarkable.

“The Living Wage movement has never been stronger, and in the current cost of living crisis, it has never mattered more. Nearly 13,000 Living Wage Employers have recognised this and signed up to ensure that everyone who works for them, including third party contractors like cleaners and security guards, earns a wage that meets every day needs.

“Tonight, we are celebrating the outstanding leadership these employers have shown in providing stability and security in their industries, communities, and wider society. They are leading the way in building a better and more equal world, and I warmly congratulate United Colleges Group and the West London Citizens Living Wage for Health and Social care team on their well-deserved award.”

Rahat, a student at City of Westminster College, said: “This is our future – this was difficult work and we were proud to do it.”

Fellow student Serena added: “My mum works for the NHS and I see the struggles she goes through. I want to push for better for her and for all of us.”

Stephen Davis, Principal and CEO of United Colleges Group, said: “Everyone at UCG is delighted to see our students’ tireless and selfless campaigning work be recognised with this national award.

“On behalf of myself, my staff and all of our students, I would like to congratulate them all for winning this prestigious accolade — it is certainly well deserved.”

The annual Living Wage Champion Awards celebrate individuals and organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to the Living Wage movement. This year they were held in Manchester for the first time ever in recognition of the strength and growth of the movement in the region. The awards were supported by gold sponsors Aviva and Everton FC, and silver sponsors Autotrader and Anchor Removals.