22/09/2012

Living Wage - Time for Action

I've called for Dundee City Council to make real progress on the Living Wage. In March the City Council agreed to implement the Living Wage for all City Council employees and to promote the Living Wage to arms-length organisations and to those who enter into contracts with the City Council.  I'm looking for Dundee City Council to respond positively to the consultation on the proposed Members' Bill from John Park MSP in the Scottish Parliament on the Living Wage (Scotland) Bill which would require private sector employees working on public sector contracts to be paid the Living Wage and/or require the Scottish Government to prepare and report to the Scottish Parliament on a strategic plan to promote the Living Wage.


I was very pleased that Dundee City Council agreed to adopt a Living Wage policy back in March. Labour had been leading the way with calls for this. I think that the time has come to implement the policy. I sought an update on the policy and have been told that a report is being written, that is very good but it is action that is required.  People should be getting this extra cash in their pockets sooner rather than later and I would like to see it in pay packets before Christmas, of all nine months after the policy was agreed.


The council should be giving a moral lead in paying at least the Living Wage to all its employees and looking for ways to encourage, cajole and even insist that contractors pay the Living Wage. The council should be concerned about the way companies it gives business to behave. We are rightly concerned about the health and safety record of such companies, for example, therefore I think that it is only right that we have concern about their wage rates. The council invests huge amounts of money on behalf of the people of Dundee it is morally right that the people of Dundee benefit from the money spent on their behalf. I want the council to bring forward this report on the implementation of the Living Wage sooner rather than later and I want the council to give a strong lead to the city and to say that the Living Wage should be paid right across the city.


I have written to the City Council's Chief Executive asking that the council responds to the consultation on the Living Wage (Scotland) Bill, which would require private sector employees on public sector contracts to be paid the Living Wage and that the Scottish Government implements a strategic plan to promote the Living Wage. Six out of ten poor children in Scotland live in families that suffer from in-work poverty. There is a commitment from a range of public sector bodies, including Dundee City Council, to pay their employees the Living Wage but this must go further. Over half a million Scots still do not earn the Living Wage and it is time that changed.