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Scotland to lead way in fairer working

Published: 21 Mar 2016 00:01

The Fair Work Framework for Scotland is launched.

A fairer working environment should be created by providing opportunity, security, fulfilment, respect and an effective voice for every working person in Scotland.

That was the clear message in the Framework published by the Fair Work Convention today (March 21). The Framework makes clear that drawing on all the talents, skills, experience and creativity of our workforce is good for workers, good for business and good for Scotland.

Fair work can deliver clear benefits, not only for individuals but also for businesses through higher productivity, performance and innovation. Key actions to improve working practices in the Framework include:

  • All workers should be paid at least the Living Wage
  • Contractual stability should be core and employers should adopt more flexible forms of working and end the use of inappropriate zero hours contracts
  • The value of unions in supporting employees' voice through collective bargaining and employee development should be recognised
  • Inequalities in training and development that lead to careers progression should be addressed
  • Widespread awareness of employee rights should be ensured and respect for workers' personal and family life should be supported.

The Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training Roseanna Cunningham met with Convention co-chairs,business leader Linda Urquhart and former STUC President Anne Douglas, at a Scottish Water works site at Craiglockhart in Edinburgh. The public utility, which is Living Wage-accredited, has signed the Business Pledge and has one of the most engaged workforces in the UK, is working on a project to increase the size of a sewer to help prevent flooding.

Ms Cunningham received the Framework, which will be launched on Monday at a gathering of employers, unions, business and other organisations who helped the Convention in its development, from the co-chairs and said:

"We want Scotland to be a great place for people to work because the bottom line is that a fairly treated workforce is a more productive workforce which is good for people, good for businesses and good for Scotland's economy.

"That is why, through Scotland's Economic Strategy, we are tackling inequalities and boosting competitiveness as mutually supportive aims. We want our economy to deliver more, better paid jobs and the relationship between employers and their employees must be at the heart of this.

"I strongly believe that people must feel valued, rewarded and engaged in their work. The Fair Work Convention was established so that its collective knowledge and experience could offer employees, businesses and stakeholders a practical guide to how to deliver fairer workplaces.

"I'd like to thank the co-chairs and the members for their input into this piece of work.

"The Framework provides a clear guide to the steps employers should strive to be taking. It's clear from the Convention's work that there are significant benefits not only for individuals. It highlights where businesses have seen real benefits to their business and their bottom line in adopting more fair approaches with their employees.

"The Framework will help us build momentum so that employers, employees, unions and customers across the length and breadth of the country come to expect fairer working practices to be the norm, and for Scotland to lead the way as a fair work nation."

Fair Work Convention co-chair Linda Urquhart added:

"I've been encouraged to see the many and varied examples from business and organisations who already embrace aspects of fair work and to see the benefits they and their people enjoy as a result.

"As a Convention, we are issuing an invitation to rise to the challenge of delivering fair work in Scotland. We're not being prescriptive about how to go about that, but we have set out ideas and examples in the Framework. Each business or organisation will be different, at a different place on the fair work journey and able to make progress at different speeds.

"I hope the Framework will help more employers see the benefits of fair work and encourage them to use it as a starting point for improvement and that it will be used by the many organisations who we've identified as being in the 'Fair Work Landscape' to make their contribution to fair work becoming a hallmark of Scotland's workplace and economy".

Convention co-chair Anne Douglas also said:

"In developing the Framework we consulted with a wide range of interested parties from businesses and their representatives, employees and their trade unions to many campaigning groups and public agencies. What was most satisfying for me was that no-one disagreed that fair work should be available to all.

"Our overarching recommendation affirms that and calls on everyone to study and use the dimensions we have identified – effective voice, fulfilment, security, opportunity and respect – to make that aspiration a reality for all workers in Scotland. We are at the start of a journey and I am looking forward to moving ahead."

Notes to editors

A Fair Work Framework for Scotland will be published online at 00:01 hours on March 21. Media interested in an advance copy should contact Scottish Government communications on the details below.

For images please contact Neil Hanna Photography on neilhannaphoto@gmail.com or 07702246823.