‘We don’t do zero-hour contracts, we set contracts with the worker that fits their circumstances’
Grace Harrison, from Kitty’s Launderette, explains why other businesses should sign up to the Mayor’s Fair Employment Charter.
Owned and run by the community and its workers, Kitty’s Launderette in Liverpool know the importance of fair pay and conditions.
The business is named after Irish migrant Kitty Wilkinson, whose efforts to tackle cholera eventually led to the opening of the first combined washhouse and public baths in the UK.
Grace Harrison, Development Co-ordinator, said:
“As we are a community business, we are owned and run by the community and by the workers. The workers have a huge stake in the business so it is important that they are fairly paid.
“We don’t do zero-hour contracts, we set contracts with the worker that fits around their personal circumstances. We seek to employ people who live in walking distance of the launderette, so it’s also about accessible work so you can leave here and pick up your kids from school and stuff like that.”
The business has joined employers across the Liverpool City Region in backing Mayor Steve Rotheram’s Fair Employment Charter – and believes others should do the same.
The campaign against poverty pay and zero hours contracts aims to protect workers being hit by the worst cost of living crisis in a generation.
Grace said: “I think that other business should join because it really means something. You’re getting that external look at your practices and identifying any ways that you can improve but also celebrating businesses that are doing a lot to make work as meaningful and fair as it should be.”
More than 50 organisations from across the region have been awarded Aspiring status of the Charter, which encourages businesses to pay staff a Real Living Wage, clamp down on the use of zero hours contracts, provide mental health support, encourage flexible working and engage with trade unions.
A further 85 companies are in talks to sign the charter.
Currently, more than a quarter of the region’s workforce earn less than a Real Living Wage, which is £10.90 an hour for everyone living outside of London, with an estimated 19,000 workers on zero hours contracts.