By Maitane Sardon

 

A group of investors on Thursday called on U.K. companies including Just Eat PLC (JE.LN), JD Sports Fashion PLC (JD.LN) and Royal Mail PLC (RMG.LN) to start paying their staff a "real living wage."

In a letter, investors representing 2 trillion pounds ($2.57 trillion) in assets and including Legal & General Investment Management and Hermes Investment Management's ESG arm Hermes EOS called on companies' chief executives to pay a "real living wage" of 10.75 pounds ($13.84) an hour to employees living in London and 9.30 pounds ($11.97) to those living elsewhere in the U.K.

In the U.K., the government minimum wage for all staff over 25 years old is 8.21 pounds ($10.57) an hour and is based on a percentage of median earnings, currently at 55% and aiming to reach 60% by 2020. The real living wage takes into account the cost of living based on a selection of household goods and services.

The letter was supported by responsible-investment charity ShareAction and targeted 15 companies listed on the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 indexes including United Utilities Group (UU.LN), British Land Co. (BLND.LN), Rentokil Initial PLC (RTO.LN), International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (IAG.LN) and Smurfit Kappa Group PLC (SK3.DB).

"The case is clear: a workforce that is fairly paid, well valued and respected will perform better than one that isn't, and therefore we are asking U.K. companies to consider paying the living wage as a key indicator of a responsible and sustainable business," said Pauline Lecoursonnois, engagement professional at Hermes EOS.

 

Write to Maitane Sardon at maitane.sardon@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 28, 2019 06:43 ET (11:43 GMT)

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