BAM Facilities Management has become accredited as a Living Wage Foundation Recognised Service Provider.
The recognition means BAM FM, part of BAM Construct UK, is paying its own employees a higher rate. By law, all companies must pay at least the national minimum wage. The living wage however involves voluntarily paying a higher rate. More than 7,000 UK employers already choose to pay it.
While BAM is committed to paying all directly employed colleagues in line with Living Wage Foundation rates, it must work with its clients to encourage them to pay it too.
Louise Williamson, BAM FM’s Managing Director, explains how BAM is approaching this: “We want to increase wages for lower paid colleagues. On the face of it, people might think we could just decide to meet that increased cost ourselves. However, we face two challenges which we are determined to overcome.
“The first challenge is that most of the time we can’t control the pay scales in our contracts. When we take on a new contract, we must maintain employees’ terms and conditions. That means we need to ask our clients to agree to spend more so we can then pass that on to employees by paying them the living wage. We have started those conversations with clients and hope for positive responses.
“The second challenge is that when we bid for new work, paying the living wage without the support of our clients and supply chain could make us uncompetitive. The wage bill is the biggest element of any service. If we proposed prices that include the higher living wage, but our competitors were able to choose to pay lower rates, then they would easily undercut us, win all the work and then no one would get better wages.
“To make sure we can still win new business, as a Living Wage Service Provider we will be submitting bids with two choices of cost. One with the living wage and one without. And we will be asking the potential client to agree to the higher wages if they can afford it.
“We do employ a number of people directly in our own offices. Their pay is covered by the business, not by a specific client and so the decision on pay is one which we are able to make internally. All our directly employed employees are already paid within these levels.
“Whilst we continue promoting the living wage to our clients, we are also promoting it to the supply chain and the broader market to try to improve the lives of those in our industry on low wages.”
Many of BAM’s property development and construction clients are already active supporters of the Living Wage Foundation, including universities, local authorities, NHS bodies, and land development companies.