Date: Tuesday 13 May
Proposals to introduce living wage through procurement
shows light at the end of tunnel, says UNISON
UNISON, Scotland’s largest public service union, today
(Tuesday) welcomed proposed amendments to the Procurement Reform
(Scotland) Bill that would see the living wage introduced for
the first time.
This key legislation, which will be debated at the final stage
in the Scottish Parliament today, will govern how the public sector
spends around £11 billion annually on goods and services.
Today’s debate provides MSPs with an opportunity to put
social and environmental justice high up the public procurement
agenda, including, crucially, rolling out the Scottish Living
Wage to all those working on public contracts.
Although UNISON would prefer making the living wage mandatory,
the Scottish Government approach means public bodies can include
it in their procurement strategies in a way that makes it clear
to contractors that, for relevant procurements, bids will be evaluated
taking employment policies, including the living wage, into account.
It would then be included in the contract and can be enforced
through contract performance.
While Scotland leads the way in the UK with the implementation
of the living wage across almost all of the public sector, a two
tier workforce exists as many public services are outsourced to
the private and voluntary sectors – including vital areas
such as social care.
Dave Watson, UNISON Scotland’s Head of Bargaining and Campaigns,
said: “Rolling out the Scottish Living Wage to all those
working on public contracts is a very practical and effective
move to boost the pay and living standards of thousands of low
paid workers in Scotland. Procurement offers a way to ensure that
companies involved in blacklisting and tax dodging are not eligible
for public contracts.
“These proposals show there’s light at the end of
this very long tunnel, but we believe the Scottish Government
should go further and make paying the Scottish Living Wage a mandatory
condition of bidding for public contracts. The Scottish Living
Wage makes a big contribution towards tackling in-work poverty
and promoting sustained economic growth. Using Scotland’s
substantial public procurement spend will be a big step forward.”
Notes to editors
For more information see our briefing at:
Further information can be found in the briefings section of
our website, listed below:
The Scottish Living Wage was one of ten asks for the Bill from
a coalition of civil society organisations, including the STUC,
Stop Climate Chaos Scotland and SCVO. The asks include action
on blacklisting and tax dodging, a sustainable development focus
and measures on ethical/fair trade, employment standards and positive
One in five Scots are paid below the living wage of £7.65
The Scottish Living Wage is good for workers as they benefit
from higher pay, improved health and motivation; good for employers
as it reduces turnover, improves productivity and attracts better
staff; and good for the economy as it results in lower benefit
costs and less stress on the NHS.
Six in 10 children who live in poverty have at least one parent
working. 550,000 adults (mostly women) in Scotland earn less than
the living wage.