115 firms gather as support for Living Wage increases.
The University of Strathclyde and Carnoustie Golf Links are the latest Scottish organisations to become accredited as Living Wage employers.
The news was confirmed by Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training Roseanna Cunningham at the country's first Living Wage Expo in Edinburgh, which has brought together around 115 bodies that already paying the Living wage – or are considering doing so.
With the number of bodies now accredited totalling 338, the Expo will give attendees the chance to hear from other employers about experiences, best practice and how to engage other bodies.
Ms Cunningham also highlighted the UK government's recent welfare cuts and research which shows that proposals for a 'national living wage' would fail to offset these cuts for the lowest income families. In particular the research shows:
- By 2020 the Living wage is expected to be around £10.75, whilst the national living wage will be only around £9.35 – based on the best current predictions
- Around half the cash gains in household income may benefit higher income families
- The national living wage is not targeted at low income households, whilst cuts in working age benefits are.
Ms Cunningham said:
"Today, the first ever Living Wage Expo will continue the Scottish Government's drive to get more and more employers to become living wage employers.
"Progress on the Living Wage has been significant since the creation of the Scottish Government's 'Fair Work' brief last autumn. As of today, we are now up to 338 firms and remain well on course to have 500 accreditations by March.
"Our latest signees are one of Scotland's finest universities and a regular host of golf's Open Championship. I hope, like many of the other firms accredited to date, they can help us set a good example to other around the country and help tackle low pay.
"These organisations are showing that shown that the benefits of paying the Living Wage, including increased staff morale, reduced absenteeism and higher levels of productivity, far exceed any barriers to paying it.
"There also needs to be absolutely no doubt that the higher national minimum wage announced in the Chancellor's budget is not, and should not be called a living wage. The Living Wage is calculated according to the cost of living whereas the Low Pay Commission calculates a rate according to what the market can bear.
"Not only does it blatantly discriminate against under 25s, today's research shows that for the majority of households it will also not be sufficient to offset the cuts to benefit income announced in the budget, leading to greater inequalities.
"The Scottish Government is committed to tackling low pay and the best means of doing so is by signing up to the real Living Wage to make a real difference to low income families."
Peter Kelly, Director of The Poverty Alliance added:
"Today's event is testament to the commitment of employers in Scotland to paying the Living Wage and a demonstration of the growing network of organisations who have committed to paying the Living Wage. In a relatively short space of time, we have seen over 335 employers join the Living Wage network in Scotland, and I would like to congratulate the University of Strathclyde and Carnoustie Golf Links on becoming the latest sign ups.
"We are confident that we will meet the target of 500 accredited employers by March, and look forward to working with new organisations as the year progresses. We are delighted that more and more organisations are recognising that paying the Living Wage is the right thing to do.
"This is more important than ever, especially as UK Government cuts now target those in work. Everyone should get a fair day's pay for a fair day's work."
Graeme Duncan, General Manager of CGLMC Ltd (Carnoustie) said:
"Treating staff fairly has been important to the trustees of Carnoustie Golf Links for many years, and the decision to implement the living wage for all employees is a natural step for us as an organisation."
University of Strathclyde Principal Professor Sir Jim McDonald also said:
"We are delighted to be accredited as a Living Wage Employer, a status reflecting our continuing commitment to our own University values – People-Oriented, Bold, Innovative, Collaborative and Ambitious.
"We benefit from dedicated and talented colleagues across all our communities – academic, research and teaching staff; administrative and professional services staff; technical staff; and our excellent operational staff providing a range of support services across the University.
"The ongoing enhancement of our reputation and performance is critically dependent on each staff member's skills, experience and support for our University's strategic development, and we are naturally pleased to celebrate our formal accreditation as a Living Wage Employer."
The Living Wage research can found here.