COOK becomes Living Wage employer
Upmarket frozen food retailer COOK has become an accredited Living Wage employer.
The move will see the company, which manufactures and sells frozen ready meals, pay all staff in its kitchens and 43 shops at least the Living Wage of £7.85 an hour or £9.15 if working in London. A total of 322 employees from across the business will receive a pay rise.
Edward Perry, founder of COOK, explained: “Our purpose at COOK is to create a remarkable food business that’s a force for good in society. That means paying people properly so they don’t need to depend on state handouts to survive and also making sure everyone shares in our success.
“We were already paying above the minimum wage of £6.50 an hour; but after 18 years I’m very pleased that COOK is finally in a robust financial position, making a decent profit each year. Most of that profit is ploughed back into the business. What’s left over is available to be paid as dividends to shareholders.
“Given our purpose, we felt it would be inappropriate for shareholders to get a dividend while COOK wasn’t paying people a Living Wage, as measured by a credible, independent benchmark.
“At COOK, we know our product and our brand is only as good as our people. They all do a remarkable job. We’re delighted to now be an official Living Wage employer.”
The Living Wage is calculated each year by an independent body. It takes into account all the costs of living and is updated annually. There are now over 1,500 accredited organisations including companies such as Nestle, Nationwide and SSE.
Rhys Moore, director, Living Wage Foundation, said: “We are delighted to welcome COOK to the Living Wage movement as an accredited employer. As both a retailer and food manufacturer with a growing presence across the UK it is fantastic to see achieving Living Wage accredited status so high on the agenda of this business. We hope that the work COOK has done to enable them to implement the Living Wage will encourage others in this sector to follow suit and see the Living Wage as a mark of responsible business.”
A recent poll by Nationwide, an accredited Living Wage employer and principal partner of the Living Wage Foundation, revealed that 87% of the public thought that those businesses that can, should pay the Living Wage and 58% would be more likely to use the goods and services of a company that paid its employees the Living Wage.
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