Herney Guevara Rodriguez is another beneficiary of Barclays commitment to the living wage. Originally from Colombia, Herney has worked at Barclays for the past year. He was previously employed by a cleaning company where he earned between £7.50 and £8 an hour. This was not enough for Herney to support his wife and two daughters, one of whom is at university.
“My maximum earnings were £250 per week so after rent, and food, there wasn’t much left. I was living in a Housing Association property, but the landlord wanted the flat back which put me and my family in a very difficult situation.”
Finding it impossible to afford commercial rents, Herney ended up living in a friend’s house, sharing a room with his wife and 14-year-old daughter. “It was very uncomfortable,” he says, quietly. “We had no privacy.”
Things changed when he found work as a Kitchen Porter at Barclays HQ a year ago. He now earns enough for the family to afford a place of their own. “Earning the living wage has made a lot of difference because it was much easier to find a place with my new earnings,” he says. “It’s nice. We have a garden and three bedrooms. We are much happier.”
For Julia, quite apart from the personal benefits for staff, paying the living wage makes business sense. “In my experience, you tend to do your job way better when you feel valued,” she says. “It is like a circle – if they are good to you, you will be good to them. And when it works, it is wonderful.”