We interviewed Martin Harris, Managing Director of Brighton & Hove Bus Company, to find out why they were one of the first businesses to sign up to the Brighton & Hove Living Wage Campaign, and whether large businesses face tougher challenges to pay staff a Living Wage.
Tell me a bit about Brighton & Hove Bus Company.
Brighton & Hove Bus Company has been operating in the city since 1985 and it has the highest level of bus use outside of London. We believe a bus operator’s place is at the heart of its community.
When did you join the Brighton & Hove Living Wage Campaign? What made you decide to sign up?
We signed up right from the start because we are a responsible and reasonable employer. We recognise the value of our staff to the business and believe the Living Wage is an important measure against which to benchmark our terms and conditions for employees. We also believe that for the city to have a vital and thriving economy, with greater fairness, everyone that works in the city should receive at least the Living Wage.
How many staff do you have? Have you always paid them the living wage?
We have around 1,000 employees in the city. We pay more than the Living Wage and have done so for some years, although when the Living Wage was first introduced it did point out one or two employees who were slightly below the rate.
Were there any barriers to signing up to the campaign?
Not for us. But we do recognise there are some really challenging barriers for some businesses.
Do you think it’s harder for large organisations to pay the living wage?
I don’t think it’s a question of size. It’s a question of market and structures – and also your perspective in the way you view the value of your employees in the long run.
Do you think that paying your staff the living wage has had a positive impact on your staff and your business?
We’ve always paid more than the Living Wage so it’s hard to comment. However it definitely provides a useful indicator to our staff and people outside of the business that we are a responsible employer.
Have you used the living wage positively, for instance to recruit new staff or to win customers?
For potential new clients, our support for the Living Wage is one of a number of indicators that we’re a socially aware organisation. These days, people want to do business with good people.
What would you say to other businesses thinking of joining the campaign?
It’s not for us to preach to others about how they run their business, but we do believe that for an employer, and for the economy of the city, the benefits of the Living Wage in the long-run will far outweigh any initial challenges.
Are you, or could you be, a Living Wage employer? Over 260 businesses have now signed up to the Brighton & Hove Living Wage Campaign, and it would be great if you could join them.
It is free to sign up here – http://www.livingwagebrighton.co.uk/sign-up/. If you have any questions, or would like to chat, please give us a call on 01273 719097 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.