Mass for migrants by St George’s Cathedral 3rd May, 2011: Bishop of Brentwood Thomas McMahon has condemned exploitation of migrant workers in the UK. Describing it as a ‘scandal and deeply unjust" and "an affront to natural justice", he insisted the ordinary and especially the migrant workers were being exploited.
The Bishop asserted undue advantage of the migrants was being taken. They were paid less than even their livelihood income.
Bishop McMahon’s comments came during the sixth annual mass on Monday. It was organized for migrant workers by St George’s Cathedral.
According to estimates, the annual mass, the Feast of St Joseph the Worker at St George’s Cathedral was attended by more than 2000 people from various racial communities of London.
After the mass, Bishop McMahon led a procession over the bridge to Westminster for the Living Wage Assembly at Methodist Central, attended by representatives from Muslim, Jewish, Christian and secular organisations.
More than 100 London-based employers have now signed up to the London Living Wage which was introduced in 2005 under the City Hall administration of Ken Livingstone. The idea was taken up by Boris Johnson when he became Mayor in 2008.
The mass saw day-long series of events organised by London Citizens and Citizens UK for celebrating the 10th anniversary of its campaign for a living wage.
In his sermon, McMahon underscored the movement for a living wage. The first prophetic all for a living wage was by Pope Leo XIII in 1891, when he spoke out against the treatment of labour as a commodity, he said.
The mass was presided over by Archbishop Peter Smith along with more than 50 priests. Also present were many from London’s Catholic ethnic chaplaincies. Cllr Tina Valcarcel, Mayor of Lambeth was also present at the mass.
It took off with a colourful march of banners by dozens of parishes and Catholic organisations.
The congregation included the Trinidad and Tobago High Commissioner and ambassadors from Ireland and Portugal.
At the Offertory, as well as the bread and wine, migrant workers brought up symbols of their work such as hammers and briefcases.
Boris Johnson said that that honest hard working Londoners deserved proper reward for their labours. He added that a growing number of organisations recognised that it went well with them as well as their staff to pay the London Living Wage.
He asserted that it was a win win situation for employers, as paying a fair wage promoted a reliable and motivated workforce. This also at the same time continued to help pull many Londoners out of scarcity and increase the capital’s economy.