Moray Council to seek Living Wage Accreditation

The Council is to seek Living Wage Accreditation after its Policy and Resources Committee, meeting earlier this week, gave unanimous cross-party support for the proposal.

While the Council has paid its own employees a Living Wage rate for several years, in order to get Living Wage Accreditation the Council must also confirm that staff of all contracted organisations that regularly provide services for the Council must either be paid the Living Wage or have a plan in place to move these staff to the Living Wage. The accreditation body works with organisations to ensure that the criteria are satisfied.

Research shows that the benefits of accreditation are enhanced quality of work, improved loyalty and customer service (fewer complaints), reduced absenteeism, improved retention rates and enhanced general reputation.

Welcoming the Council’s support for the move, the Committee Chair, Cllr Aaron McLean, said: “Payment of the Living Wage has been a key policy for the SNP and one that we have been very pro-active on. It is also backed by several other parties and many organisations in Scotland. I am really pleased that the Committee has unanimously backed the recommendation for the Council to seek full Living Wage Accreditation.

“Getting Accreditation will show that the Council takes seriously the issue of improving pay and conditions for people and while we already pay Living Wage to our own staff it is hugely important that we show leadership and support our partner organisations and contractors to pay the Living Wage to their staff as well. It also demonstrates leadership to other local businesses and organisations.

“Research by respected organisations such as the Living Wage Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation show clear links between paying the Living Wage and productivity with workers feeling more valued and willing to go the extra mile for their employers.”

The move has also been welcomed by local anti-poverty campaigners. Mairi McCallum, Project Manager at the Moray Foodbank, said: “Moray Foodbank became an accredited Living Wage employer in August this year and since then has been actively campaigning for more employers in Moray to join the movement. We are delighted that The Moray Council, as one of the biggest employers in the region, has decided to seek accreditation and that this will also extend to their contracted service providers.”

Moray Foodbank Chair, Kathy Ross added: “Moray Foodbank became active promoters of the real living wage following a piece of research we did to raise awareness of poverty in Moray. We have a low wage economy, and though statistically more people are economically active than the Scottish average, wages are much lower in Moray, and work is more likely to be seasonal or part time.

“We felt it was important to dispel some of the myths about foodbank use and to highlight that in Moray in work poverty is an issue.

“We did quite a lot of lobbying of local business, and have also encouraged The Moray Council to consider accreditation.

“We decided to become accredited living wage employers ourselves, as we wanted to lead by example, and particularly to influence other local third sector employers, but also to demonstrate to staff that they were valued and appreciated.

“We are a small organisation, so it is very much due to our employees being committed to providing exceptional service and being prepared to go the extra mile that we have earned a good reputation locally. As a board we felt that this needed to be acknowledged and rewarded – and of course the real living wage helps us retain good people,- and a stable workforce is good for the organisation.”

More information about Living Wage Accreditation is available on https://scottishlivingwage.org/

Alternative or additional routes to accreditation include signing up to the Business Pledge, which covers not only a commitment to paying the real living wage, but also eight additional commitments, from fair contracts and prompt payments to workforce engagement and playing an active role in the community.

insideMORAY’s host, tsiMORAY, successfully made the pledge in June.

More information on the Business Pledge is available on https://scottishbusinesspledge.scot/