Progress on Living Wage - Could go further

Living Wage 6 November 2012 from West End Labour on Vimeo.

I welcomed progress towards the Living Wage by Dundee City Council but I am concerned that the council needs to go further. The City Council agreed a report on the Living Wage last week which I successfully amended to ensure that the council looks for ways to make contractors and arms-length companies the Living Wage; my amendment also means that Dundee City Council will be responding to the consultation on the Living Wage (Scotland) Bill proposed by John Park MSP.  I have been calling for
action on for some time.  I was glad to see progress on this, after the policy was agreed in principle back in March.

The report agreed by the City Council is good in as far as it goes. I am glad that council workers are to receive what is effectively a pay increase in time for Christmas as I have been calling for.

I do think that we need to take a lead though. The City Council should be saying to employers right across the city that we think that they should be paying the Living Wage. I think that we should be saying to arms-length organisation and also to those contracting with the council that we think that people employed by the council should receive the Living Wage and also that those indirectly employed by the council through arms-length organisations or contractors should also receive the Living Wage.

There is a consultation on a Members’ Bill in the Scottish Parliament proposed by John Park MSP which if passed would require private sector employees working on public sector contracts to be paid the Living Wage and which would also require the Scottish Ministers to prepare and report on a strategic plan to promote the Living Wage. I am glad that the council will respond to this consultation and I think the council should respond positively. We should take the moral lead saying that in-work poverty is unacceptable in Dundee.

We have an important duty to take a lead and say what we think is right and also put those words into actions. In so doing we could make a real difference to the lives of people in Dundee and deal at least in part with ‘in-work’ poverty.

Click on the video above to hear me talking about the Living Wage on Wave 102.