The Sussex Living Wage campaign has been created by students at the University of Sussex in order to gain better wages for workers across Brighton and Hove. They had their first meeting on February 21.
In August 2015, insurance company Endsleigh discovered that 77% of students now work to fund their studies. This is compared with 59% in 2014 and 57% in 2013. They also found that 46% of students use their overdraft whilst female students who work during term time earn 36% less than males. The Sussex Living Wage campaign aims to ‘empower students to ask for what they deserve, including a fair wage, prompt payments and thus comfort in their workplace. Ensure students can work and study without the extra financial stress of low wages. Lobby businesses to support our goals and create a network of ethical work-spaces in Brighton and Hove.’
This campaign was set up by two students at the University of Sussex who both worked in Brighton and Hove during their studies. One of the students who set up this campaign stated that “as someone who has worked in Brighton for several years before beginning my studies at Sussex, I can safely say that the number of workers who are mistreated based on their age, student-status or nationality is despicably high. I have seen close friends go without anything more than beans on toast for weeks on end, I’ve seen friends be denied their rightful wages because of “company issues”, I’ve even seen several of my friends be made homeless due to the lack of care they experience at work. I’ve had enough of watching good people suffer simply because companies have the power to treat people poorly with no ramification, it’s time for a change, starting with paying people for the work they do!”
Another student involved with setting up the campaign stated that “when I was in Sixth Form student back home, I worked at a small cafe which initially had the right conditions for me and was a nice place to work. However, the money I was receiving for my labour felt particularly low and I soon realised it was due to my age, which made me feel very undervalued. Now that I have come to university, I have realised that having a job is almost essential because of the high living costs of Brighton, however many of my friends and classmates have warned me about the difficulties of balancing work and studies, considering the amount more they have to work to earn the money they need: that’s why I’m so passionate about this campaign. I’m fighting for my friends and fellow student’s wellbeing, I’m fighting for companies to care for their employees and fellow student’s wellbeing, I’m fighting for companies to care for their employees and I’m fighting to end the financial struggle of young people over Brighton and Hove.”
You can get involved in this campaign by emailing email@example.com or follow them on Instagram @LivingWageUoS. You can also find out more on the University of Sussex Student Union website.