Making Living Wage Places: Glenrothes paves the way for Towns to tackle low pay in Scotland
August 28, 2019
Glenrothes is the first Town in the UK to be awarded recognition for a plan to become a Living Wage Town. As part of Living Wage Scotland’s ‘Making Living Wage Places’ scheme local businesses and employers will be encouraged to pay employees the real Living Wage and become accredited as a Living Wage employer.
An Action Group of employers in Glenrothes has launched an Action Plan today setting out how they will work together on “Making Glenrothes a Living Wage Town”. They are the first town to adopt a new, place-based approach to driving uptake of the real Living Wage by local businesses.
The launch event is being held at Glenrothes Enterprise Business Hub, and the Action Group includes major local employers such as Fife Council, Fife Voluntary Action and Fife College alongside local private business owners from Glenwood Hairdressing Salon and Landfall Scaffolding.
64 Fife employers have already voluntarily committed to ensure all their staff and subcontracted staff earn a real Living Wage of £9.00 an hour, significantly higher than the government minimum of £8.21.
11 of Fife’s accredited Living Wage employers are based in Glenrothes, and together employ the equivalent of 12% of the Fife region’s workforce.
The Action Plan launched today seeks to triple the number of employers accredited in the town in the first year and will offer small grants to help local businesses achieve Living Wage accreditation.
The Action Group intend to prioritise their engagement with Care, Construction and Manufacturing as key industries in Glenrothes.
Fife council are the largest Living Wage employer based in Glenrothes and are driving the approach to make Glenrothes a Living Wage town, after accepting a recommendation back in 2015 by the Fairer Fife Commission that Fife should become a Living Wage region.
The Scottish Government’s Fair Work Minister Jamie Hepburn said: “It is fantastic to see Glenrothes setting out its ambition to become the UK’s first ‘Living Wage Town’.
“The significance of the real Living Wage cannot be overstated and evidence shows that paying it leads to increased productivity, better morale and lower sickness absence. Paying the real Living Wage also demonstrates that an organisation is committed to treating its workforce well.
“While Scotland is making progress in becoming a Living Wage nation, and punches well above its weight in terms of the proportion of people paid at least the real Living Wage, more remains to be done. The Scottish Government is committed to doing everything in our power to put fair work and equality at the heart of our labour market.”
Councillor David Alexander, Co-Leader of Fife Council said: “Glenrothes is leading the way by becoming the first town in the UK to take this town-based approach to addressing the issue of low pay. Fife Council’s aim is to create conditions in Fife where all residents have the capability to live good lives, make choices and reach their potential. As part of our strategy to create a Fairer Fife we recognise the value of joining the Living Wage accreditation scheme. I’m delighted to announce the launch of the ‘Making Glenrothes a Living Wage Town’ action plan and I encourage business owners and employers to find out more on the website our.fife.scot/fairerfife/livingwage/.”
Councillor David Ross, Co-Leader of Fife Council said: “We are putting fairness at the heart of everything we do by bringing together Fife’s communities, services and businesses to fight poverty and inequality. A key element in creating a Fairer Fife is encouraging employers to pay the Living Wage as a way of demonstrating their leadership and commitment to their community. We will be working together with our partner businesses and organisations on the Action Group to encourage and influence others to achieve Living Wage accreditation. This will not only to benefit employees but the whole community and if more businesses in the town can pay their staff the Living Wage we will build a strong reputation for being a great place to work and live.”
Glenwood Salon owner, Brent Burnett who is part of the Living Wage Town Action Group said: “I pay my staff the Living Wage because they deserve it and I want to treat them well. I appreciate the hard work and loyalty they give me in return and most have been with me for a long time.
I feel strongly about my local community, with both my customers and staff living locally I feel the business is firmly rooted here in Glenwood. By being accredited by Living Wage Scotland I not only benefit the staff, but the whole community. If I have happy staff I know I will have happy customers.”
Gordon Slight Managing Director Landfall Scaffolding, who is part of the Living Wage Town Action Group said: “We are a family business and have always believed that being fair to people means they will be fair in return. We place a massive emphasis on the quality of service our staff give to our customers so it’s important that their work is fairly rewarded. Living Wage accreditation demonstrates our commitment to values of fairness and helps us attract good young people to train within our business.”
Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance, who host Living Wage Scotland, said: “The commitment of this alliance of employers to the people of Glenrothes is very exciting. We look forward to working with them on making Glenrothes a Living Wage Town. Key employers working together will play an important role in ending low pay in Scotland, so today’s announcement should act as inspiration for towns and cities across the country.”
“Congratulations to the Glenrothes Living Wage Town Action Group for taking on the role as local Living Wage champions and committing to delivering an ambitious action plan that will ensure more workers in Glenrothes earn a wage that reflects living costs.”
Sarah Davidson, Chief Executive of the Carnegie UK Trust said: “The Carnegie UK Trust has been delighted to work with Living Wage Scotland to support the development of the Making Living Wage Places scheme. As a Fife-based charity we are particularly pleased to celebrate Glenrothes as the first town in the UK to make this major commitment. Towns have a vital role to play in driving positive change across Scotland. Opportunities for towns to take control of their own priorities and deliver local impact are extremely welcome and I look forward to following Glenrothes’ progress as it leads the way in tackling low pay.”
Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation said: “The Living Wage Foundation’s Making Living Wage Places scheme recognises groups of major local employers such as universities, sports clubs and local authorities that not only pay the living wage to their employers and contractors, but also use their influence to spread Living Wage accreditation through their local area. This increases Living Wage jobs, providing more workers with a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work.”
Jack Evans, Living Wage Scotland Manager: [email protected]
Mobile: 07776 527 840
Landline: 0141 353 0440
NOTES TO EDITORS
- The current real Living Wage for the UK outside of London is £9.00 per hour, announced on 5th November 2018. The figures are calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, based on the best available evidence on living standards in London and the UK.
- Living Wage Scotland launched in 2014 and is hosted by The Poverty Alliance, in partnership with the Living Wage Foundation, funded by the Scottish Government. Development of the “Making Living Wage Places” scheme was supported by the Carnegie UK Trust: https://www.carnegieuktrust.org.uk/project/living-wage-places/
- As of August 2019, there are 64 accredited Living Wage employers in Fife. The list is available at https://scottishlivingwage.org/accredited
- As of August 2019, there are 11 accredited Living Wage employers based in Glenrothes that together, employ an estimated 18,366 workers, equivalent to 12% of Fife’s workforce (estimated at 150,900 workers). https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/reports/lmp/la/1946157419/printable.aspx
- Based on the 2018 ONS Annual Population Survey, the Glenrothes area has the lowest percentage of high skilled workers when compared with other Fife areas. https://know.fife.scot/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2018/12/Economic-Profile-2018-Glenrothes.pdf
- The Fairer Fife Commission published the report ‘Fairness Matters’ in 2015, recommending steps to address poverty and inequality across Fife. It recommended that Fife should become a Living Wage region, and that it could consider piloting a town-level approach before further roll out. https://publications.fifedirect.org.uk/c64_Fairness_Matters_Report_2015.pdf
- Over the past 4 years, over 38,000 people in Scotland have had a pay rise as a result of their employer becoming accredited as a Living Wage employer. For an example of one of them click here: https://youtu.be/MaagH0UPXNo. £116m in extra wages have gone into workers’ pockets in Scotland since the voluntary movement began.
- More than 1500 employers headquartered in Scotland have become accredited. Accreditation is voluntary. In the UK, there are over 5000 accredited employers.
- Accredited Living Wage employers in Scotland span private, public and third sectors. Prominent accredited employers include SSE, Standard Life, Barrs and Mackies. SMEs make up 75% of the total number of employers and half of Scotland’s local councils accredited. Find out more at www.scottishlivingwage.org/accredited.