Glenrothes plans to become UK’s first ‘Living Wage Town’
Glenrothes is the first town in the UK to be awarded recognition for a plan to become a Living Wage Town.
Employers in Glenrothes who are part of an action group have today launched an action plan indicating how they will work together on “Making Glenrothes a Living Wage Town”.
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.
There are already 64 Fife employers who have voluntarily committed to ensuring all their staff and subcontracted staff earn a real Living Wage of £9.00 an hour. This is significantly higher than the government minimum of £8.21. Eleven of these accredited living wage employers are based in Glenrothes and employ the equivalent of 12% of the Fife region’s workforce.
Fife Council is the largest Living Wage employer based in Glenrothes and is 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.
And last week, Glenrothes-based Kingdom Housing Association celebrated being accredited as a Living Wage Employer.
The plan launched today strives 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 intends to prioritise its engagement with care, construction and manufacturing employers as key industries in Glenrothes.
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 and co-leader of Fife Council, David Alexander, 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.”
Fellow co-leader David Ross added: “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 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.”
Managing director of Landfall Scaffolding, Gordon Slight, 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, which hosts 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.”
Director of the Living Wage Foundation, Katherine Chapman, added: “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.”