Dundee City Council Adopts the Living Wage

Tonight at the Policy and Resources Committee there was a debate on the Living Wage. On tonight's agenda you can see the proposals that the SNP Administration were going to bring forward. Surprising they changed their mind after Alex Salmond committed the SNP to the Living Wage over the weekend. I had prepared an amendment which would have committed the council to the Living Wage and encouraged the council to campaign for the Living Wage in arms-length companies and in companies with which the council contracts business.

The Administration brought forward a very similar motion to that which I had prepared, with the exception of that their motion made clear that they had only brought it forward because Alex Salmond told them to. On one level imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but this is much much more important than that. I supported the council introducing the Living Wage because it was the right thing to do.

The Council should take the lead and should be promoting the Living Wage. We should ensure that all council workers receive at least the Living Wage and we should also be pushing for ways to ensure that arms-length companies, such as Leisure and Culture Dundee pay the Living Wage.

The Council should also be leading by example in the city, campaigning for the Living Wage to be paid right across the city in all sections of economy.

One way in which the Council can do this is by ensuring that we go as far as is possible in requiring companies contracting with the council to pay the Living Wage.

We should be very concerned about the way companies which get business from the council operate. In some senses we are indirect employers in this instance. The Living Wage is good enough for our workers and it is good enough for all workers in the city and for those paid through contracts let by this council. Some people will suggest that we cannot do these things, I would argue that we should not worry about the legality of such issues we should worry about the moral case. It is morally right to pay people a Living Wage of £7.20 an hour.

I was delighted that the message went out from the council meeting that we believe in the Living wage and that we think that it should be paid to council staff and right across the city.

I was disappointed that the Conservative Group voted against this very sensible policy, the Living Wage can make a difference to the lives of people in Dundee and can make a difference to the Dundee economy.