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Date: Monday 4 November 2013

Procurement is key to rolling out benefits of living wage across Scotland, says UNISON

UNISON has today (Monday) welcomed the rise in the living wage but says it’s vital this is rolled out to the private and voluntary sectors through public sector procurement.

Scotland’s largest public service union said that while good progress has been made in achieving the Scottish living wage in the public sector, the fact that nearly one in four Scots are still earning below that level cannot be ignored.

Lilian Macer, UNISON’s Scottish Convener, said: “We welcome the increase in the living wage rates but more action is needed to extend the considerable benefits across Scotland.

“Workers benefit as they get higher wages, which in turn improves health and job motivation. Employers benefit because it widely reduces turnover, improves productivity and attracts better staff through reputational gain. The wider community also benefits through lower benefit cost, less stress on the NHS and more cash into the local economy.

“However, the next stage has to be to spread the social and economic benefits to the private and voluntary sectors and the key to this is through procurement.”

Mike Kirby, UNISON’s Scottish Secretary, said: “Extending the living wage to contractors through procurement has been largely done on a voluntary basis. However, it’s vital that the payment of a living wage is a part of any contracting authority’s bid for a public sector contract.

“UNISON has long campaigned for an official accreditation scheme for Scotland’s living wage and we’re pleased the Scottish Government has responded to these calls. But as well as encouraging new employers to come on board, we need to tackle low pay through public sector procurement and the Procurement Reform Bill is the ideal opportunity to make this happen.”

As part of Living Wage Week, UNISON – together with the Scottish Living Wage Campaign and the STUC – will be lobbying the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, November 7, calling for changes to public sector procurement.

ENDS

For further information please contact:
Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary, 07939 143 355
Dave Watson, Scottish Organiser, 07958 122 409
Trisha Hamilton, Communications Officer, 0141 342 2877


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