A COUNCIL-OWNED company which hands the deputy leader thousands of pounds as a director is not paying some of the borough's poorest workers enough to cover living costs, a union says.

Greenwich Council is signed up to paying the London Living Wage (LLW) but GS Plus, the organisation it set up in 2009 to run services like cleaning and school meals, is not.

This is despite one of its directors being the council's own deputy leader Councillor Peter Brooks, who picks up a £4,000 annual allowance for his work there.

Unite regional secretary Onay Kasab said: "It's the most disgraceful piece of hypocrisy from Cllr Brooks when his own council is committed to the wage. We've been in talks with GS Plus but they haven't given us assurances that they'll start paying it.

"Cleaners in schools are certainly not getting enough. We're talking about some of the lowest paid people in London here.

"The excuse is they're in competition with other firms. But all the excuses just don't work when the council owns the company."

Cllr Brooks is already paid £10,210 as a councillor, plus £33,514 for his role as deputy leader. Alongside this, he makes a further £10,499.04 for his work at London Councils, bringing his total pay to £58,223 a year.

The LLW, currently £8.55 per hour, was introduced in 2005 and is calculated according to the cost of living.

Greenwich Council, which recently launched a job scheme in the borough and has its own employment agency, is signed up to the wage but the commitment does not extend to all its sub-contractors.

And Mr Kasab said that Greenwich Service Solutions - a similar arms length management organisation set up by the council with the same directors - had "even worse" pay and conditions.

He said: "Our major concern is that these arms length management companies are not being forced to pay the money that people need."

GS Plus's director is Gurmel Singh-Kandola, a former director of public services at the council, whose annual basic pay is £145,000.

Cllr Brooks declined to comment but, speaking for both of them, Mr Singh-Kandola said: "GS Plus was paying the LLW until recently.

"We are currently exploring with our clients how to fund it in the current  challenging economic environment."

Last week, Councillor Matthew Pennycook, who is in the running to become the next Labour candidate for Greenwich and Woolwich when MP Nick Raynsford stands down, stressed the importance of the LLW on his website and warned about the dangers of low pay, including poor health and diminished life chances.