Megaphone Films has produced a new 25-minute documentary, Waging A Living In London, chronicling the successful campaign by cleaners at The Barbican theatre to secure a substantial pay rise, from around £6 to £8 per hour.
Co-directed by Ben Mann and Petros Elia, the film brings into sharp focus the day-to-day difficulties of living on the minimum wage. Following husband and wife team Albeiro and Monica Ortiz, it tells the story of the Barbican cleaners' 12-month campaign of peaceful protests, strikes and direct action.
The living wage is the independently calculated amount needed to meet the cost of living. In London it is £8.80 per hour.
Mann said, "People like Albeiro and Monica are vital to keeping London moving, yet they're among the lowest paid. We met people working up to 70 hours a week. They have no time for their family and they're treated terribly. This is the desperate reality for millions of Londoners."
Elia said, "Through peaceful mass protest, the Barbican cleaners brought the Corporation of London to the negotiating table. They have proved that the shackles of poverty pay can be broken, that everyone can win a living wage. In October 2014, the minimum wage rose from £6.31 to £6.50 an hour, less for younger people, and that is simply not enough."
Prior to this Mann directed Best Before: The London Food Revolution, a film that took the London food scene by storm and was screened around the world, including at the prestigious Manchester International Festival and on the UK Community Channel. The film was also used as a campaign tool by the Oxfam GROW campaign, The World Development Movement, and The IF Campaign.
Through volunteer-run union United Voices of the World, Elia represents the cleaners at the Barbican Centre and dozens of other well known sites across London including Burberry, St George's University, the Hilton Hotel, Sotheby's and the British Museum.
Erin Wolson co-produced Waging A Living In London and worked with Mann to promote Best Before: The London Food Revolution.
Waging A Living In London was edited by award-winning videographer Chris Atkins with animation by Getty videographer Jack Hextall.
See the film free online at: www.livingwagedoc.com