Citizens UK

The Living Wage movement began in 2001, after Citizens UK brought together communities in East London to discuss poverty and low pay. The campaign grew in momentum and soon required a mechanism to recognise employers who wanted to join the movement, which saw the establishment of the Living Wage Foundation in 2011.

Still part of Citizens UK today, the Living Wage Foundation continues to work with community organisations to make sure the voices of both workers and businesses are part of the Living Wage movement.

Citizens UK logo

What do Citizens UK do?

Citizens UK is the UK’s biggest, most diverse, and most effective people-powered alliance. By bringing together everyday people and local organisations, Citizens UK makes change on the issues that matter - from campaigning for zebra crossings on dangerous roads, to reforming the immigration system, to the Living Wage campaign​ which has led to £2bn back into the pockets low-paid workers.​

600 organisations participating, 4000+ community leaders trained, and collectively, communities have won hundreds of campaigns to build a better, fairer society.

Making London a London a Living Wage City

'Making London a Living Wage City' is a campaign launched by Citizens UK, the Living Wage Foundation and Trust for London as part of our national Living Wage Places scheme, to put hundreds of millions of wages back into the pockets of low-wage workers in London. Our vision is simple - we would like everyone in the capital to get the real Living Wage.

With 1 in 7 jobs paid below a real Living Wage in London, we want to get as many employers in the capital signed up and accredited so that millions of workers can meet the cost of living.

Together, we're working to organise workers and communities; engage and accredit employers to pay the real Living Wage; and further build the profile and support for the Living Wage campaign.

We’re also working across the UK to increase the number of Living Wage Employers, working closely with Citizens UK organisers in places like Greater Manchester, Wales, Tyne and Wear, Cambridge, Birmingham, Sunderland and many more.

The role of business in civil society

St Antony School children with living wage tshirts on

Through Citizens UK, it is possible for large and small Living Wage Employers to link up with third sector organisations, trade unions, faith leaders, educational institutions, local government and worker leaders with experience of low pay, to combine connections and influence and make change; whether that’s tackling low pay or something else.

In the Royal Docks (Newham, London) Citizens UK member institutions, such as St Antony's Primary School, collaborate with local Living Wage Employers, such as London City Airport and Tate and Lyle, to grow the real Living Wage locally, encouraging businesses to accredit and raising awareness to guarantee the real Living Wage locally. The pupils of St Antony's work side by side with staff of these organisations for the common goal of making change and tackling low pay.

Those facing injustice at the heart of what we do

The Living Wage was born out of community organising in East London, and working closely with those affected by low pay continues to be at the heart of what we do.

Working with Citizens UK, we continue to listen to the challenges affecting people in communities across the UK and create accreditation programmes to directly tackle the issues faced, such as our Living Hours accreditation which tackles insecure work.

It is important to us that those with lived experience of low pay and insecure work remain at the heart of what we do. Through our Living Wage Places projects and Leadership Academy, we'll continue to work with those affected by low pay so that they can help shape our work, champion the real Living Wage and advocate for change.