Why Living Hours? Ask Anchor Removals

Manchester-based removals company Anchor Removals are leading the way towards good work as one of our accredited Living Hours Employers. As the Living Wage Foundation publishes new research about the scale and impact of insecure work in the UK, Anchor Removals told us why they're passionate about providing security of hours alongside a real Living Wage. Inspired? Become a Living Hours Employer today.  

My name is Chris Smallwood and I'm the Managing Director of Anchor Removals Limited. As a business owner, I believe it is a stain on the conscience of the UK that there are people in work who are forced to rely on foodbanks because too many of my fellow employers and their customers fail to understand the impact of precarious work on the lives of ordinary working people.

My company is now a fully accredited Living Hours Employer, meaning we provide at least 4 weeks notice of shifts, a contract that accurately reflects hours worked, and a minimum of 16 hours a week (unless a worker requests otherwise) alongside a real Living Wage. It's a huge statement of dedication to not only pay a good wage rate, but to guarantee financial stability for our team and their families.

Anchor Removals accreditation as a Living Hours Employer is borne out of my own experience working in the furniture moving, storage and shipping industry. I started out 32 years ago as a removals porter. Because the wages were so poor, I tried to work as many hours as possible. But lifting furniture is a physically demanding job and the more you work you did, the more punishment your body took. For me the situation resulted in long term health issues including a serious back injury. Like many today, I struggled to pay my bills and survived on tins of beans, toast and the odd takeaway. Those experiences aren't easily forgotten, especially for somebody like me who came from a poor area, lived on hand me down clothes and second-hand toys for Christmas, and watched my parents argue with the stress of struggling to make ends meet.

I have often heard people who have been successful in life making the point that they fought their way out of poverty or came from a poor background. They give the impression that doing so was easy, or that it was simply achievable with hard work. Neither are necessarily true for everyone. Hard work helps, but it doesn't guarantee a good outcome: good pay and hours do! My journey to the top was a difficult one, but I was fortunate in some ways. I never experienced the kind of precarious work we now see rife in society, from zero-hour contracts to day rates which are perniciously designed to avoid mandatory minimum pay rates.

I'm now at the top of my industry, and I want to change the lives of the next generation coming down the line - that's why Anchor removals is both a Living Wage and Living Hours Employer. Our accreditation been good for business, with one it's major unseen side effects being the positive reception it has received by the public, with many customers citing our real Living Wage and Living Hours stance as a reason for choosing us. But paying minimum hours contracts and the real Living Wage rates is also good for the society we live in. It puts more in the local economy and reduces family stress. It improves mental health outcomes, alongside alcohol and drug abuse. It helps deliver a more balanced economy which, at the end of the day, benefits us all.