Living Wage campaign 'could help 30,000 Fifers'
Gary Fitzpatrick • Published 22 Aug 2012 09:30
A CAMPAIGN for the 'Living Wage' could help an estimated 30,000 low paid workers in Fife.
MSP John Park has launched a consultation on his proposed Living Wage (Scotland) Bill .
The Living Wage is currently set at £7.20 per hour and it is estimated that across the country as a whole, 550,000 Scots are still being paid less than this.
Labour MSP Mr Park, a former worker at Rosyth Dockyard, said, "Six out of ten poor children in Scotland live in families that suffer from in-work poverty.
" We have seen a commitment from a range of public sector bodies to pay their employees the Living Wage but I believe we must go further.
"When around a fifth of the workforce in Fife, and over half a million Scots across the country, still do not earn the Living Wage, it is time that changed.
"The Scottish Government have said they do not intend to bring forward any legislation on the Living Wage as part of their Procurement Reform Bill.
"This is a missed opportunity. I believe that if we do not take action on this issue then we are letting down thousands of low-paid, hard-working Scots."
The UK-wide Annual Survey for Hours and Earnings (ASHE), shows that just over 20% of workers in Fife currently earn less than the Living Wage, with 10% earning less than £6.30 per hour.
The proposed legislation will require private sector employees working on public sector contracts to be paid the Living Wage and seeks to tackle in-work poverty by increasing the number of workers who benefit from a decent wage.
It also seeks to require Scottish Ministers to prepare, and report to Parliament with, a strategic plan to promote the Living Wage.
The proposals are supported by a range of organisations including the STUC, the Poverty Alliance, the Child Poverty Action Group and Thompsons Solicitors. Views are being sought from as many organisations and individuals as possible, with 03rd December set as the closing date for the consultation.
Dave Moxham, STUC Deputy General Secretary and a leading member of the Scottish Living Wage Campaign said:
"We have made a great deal of progress in establishing the living wage as a means of protecting low paid workers in Scotland particularly in the public sector. However we know that the majority of low paid workers are in the private sector. Including a living wage clause in public sector procurement contracts will ensure that more low paid workers benefit from pay that at the very least allows for a minimum standard of living and helps to ensure that no public money is used to pay poverty wages. We support the intention set out in this consultation and would urge all of those with an interest in tackling low pay to respond to the consultation".