With 1 in 4 living wage employers already in Scotland, the Scottish Government aims to make this a ‘Living Wage Nation’

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There are around 3 500 living wage employers across the UK with 28% of them in Scotland but the Scottish government is clearly not satisfied and has launched an ambitious plan to turn Scotland into a ‘Living Wage Nation. Here’s the link to my earlier report:

8% of the UK population and 28% of living wage employers. More evidence that we are different enough to want to run the whole show?

Working with the Poverty Alliance, the Scottish Government has put in place a plan to boost the income of those on low pay over the next three years. The plan includes the following:

  • At least 25,000 more people over the next three years to benefit from their employer becoming Living Wage accredited
  • Launch a regionally-focussed accreditation scheme to create the UK’s first Living Wage towns, cities and regions
  • Increase the proportion of accredited organisations in low-paid sectors, such as hospitality and tourism

https://news.gov.scot/news/living-wage-nation

Once more, we see an SNP-led administration with a vision for a better society and the will to take action on it. The contrast with the ailing Labour Party in Scotland’s lack of any sense of purpose and the callous disregard of the Tory Government in Westminster, could not be sharper. The idea of living wage towns, cities and regions is one which has huge potential to transform communities into places that are more cohesive, that take pride in their achievements and which ultimately will become more creative and more productive as all their citizens come to believe in a shared project.

 

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7 thoughts on “With 1 in 4 living wage employers already in Scotland, the Scottish Government aims to make this a ‘Living Wage Nation’

  1. Toni November 12, 2017 / 11:33 am

    I work for one of the Scottish food retail companies who pay the National Living wage (with an extra few pence added per hour). I think the Scottish Government will have a VERY hard time convincing the owners to up the hourly rate to the actual Living Wage! Just before I joined the company the staff decided to do away with Union membership. Theirs is a mindset that is hard to overcome.
    The only reason I work for this company is that I am a WASPI woman,( just getting my first State Pension payment next week, at the age of 64 and a quarter ) is that the shop is a short walk from home. No car expenses, as the last place I worked was a mile away from a bus stop and it took me an hour to get home at the end of the day. That was also with a company that paid just over the National Living Wage for a physical job which keeps the staff on their feet for the entire shift.
    My previous experience working in banking and accounts did not stand me in good stead when I was made redundant from a well paid office job at the age of 59.
    I wish the Scottish Government a lot of luck in their endeavours.

    Like

    • johnrobertson834 November 12, 2017 / 4:04 pm

      Thanks for these interesting comments. I hope you do get a rise.

      Like

    • Alasdair Macdonald November 12, 2017 / 6:05 pm

      Trade unions have been vilified in the media relentlessly for decades and Mrs Thatcher’s legislation made it increasingly difficult for them to operate effectively. The treachery of the Labour Government in maintaining many of the Conservative’s employment laws was, to say the leat, unhelpful. So, for low paid people having to pay union dues out of a fairly low remuneration to a union whose scope for action was restricted is a problem. With many not being able to get full employment protection until two years have passed left them open to intimidation, especially by hints at job losses to pay for pay rises.

      Opportunities for the kinds of discussions many of us had to consider grievances, etc, are restricted in modern workplaces, with people on their feet for full shifts and CCTV other kinds of ‘efficiency’ monitoring unable to do so.

      Neoliberal management and accountancy is about seeing employees as dehumanised ‘production units’ which entail costs, which have to be ruthlessly ‘pruned’ to ‘maximise profits’ and ‘shareholder value’. The hegemonic claptrap about ‘gains having to be earned’, ‘slimmed down efficiency’, etc is potent in preventing people reflecting on their condition – what Marxists call ‘conscientisation’.

      All of the evidence indicates that improving working conditions, investing in training and introducing new technology, giving employees a say and a stake, all improve output, worker job satisfaction, employee retention. Paying at least a real living wage removes anxieties from most workers. The ethos in the workplace improves. It is a win-win situation. Profits rise because output is better in both quality and quantity. Employees have disposable income and will improve working methods. HMRC gains because more people are paying tax.

      The Scottish Government is relying heavily on persuasion to pay a real living wage, not Mr Osborne’s cynical rebranding of the minimum wage, because it has to, since not all the powers to be more effective have been devolved. Nevertheless, it is sending out a signal of intent. It should promote more strongly the benefits of trade unions. I am not sure if the powers enable it to provide workers with more rights.

      It is clear that the current shambles in Westminster, the increasing squeeze of austerity reaching to more and more people, will lead to a greater awareness. Mr Sanders in America articulated this well until the Democrats skulduggery forced him out and led to the election of Donald Trump, ludicrously as the representative of the ‘disempowered’. The success of Jeremy Corbyn especially with his appeal to youth indicates that message strikes chords here, too. However, most of his Parliamentary party oppose him. His knowledge of Scotland and his ideas on real devolution are still pretty nebulous. He still has the old Labour mentality of having his hands on the undevolved levers of state to deliver to the workforce, BECAUSE LABOUR KNOWS BEST WHAT PEOPLE WANT. Nevertheless, he is light years ahead of the self-seeking unimaginative clique that runs Scottish Labour, whose policy can be summed up as “We hate the SNP because thurr no us.”

      Thanks for your testimony, Toni.

      Like

  2. johnrobertson834 November 12, 2017 / 7:38 pm

    Yes its tough out there. Spent my entire working life protected by strong unions and now safely retired. My progeny not so lucky but kind of used to their world.

    Like

  3. macgilleleabhar November 12, 2017 / 9:49 pm

    Like you John I had what would be described nowadays as a sheltered working life but in heavy engineering mostly in machine control and fault finding/ prevention.
    I have always taken an interest in Social Science and how things work. The Neoliberal delusion has fallen over like a Labour Lord on free drink logically meaning it is time to change. Quantitative easing has totally failed to stimulate the economy as the elite recipients trousered the money.
    The living wage is diametrically opposed to this as it gives more spending power to those who must spend to live. Milton Friedman spoke of Helicopter Money suggesting dropping wads of cash randomly to stimulate the economy when conventional measures have failed as at present. The Living Wage is more precise I think.

    These are the ramblings of the old man who has replaced my youthful image when I look in the mirror in the morning. He is sometimes right but as often wrong but he likes to think either way as long as you learn it doesn’t matter.

    Like

    • johnrobertson834 November 13, 2017 / 8:50 am

      I like your ramblings. Make sense to me. As for the mirrors, I’m thinking of throwing them out.

      Like

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