As the lowest paid in our society suffer
as a result of pay freezes and rising
costs, UNISON led the call for the STUC
to take forward its campaign for the
living wage in Scotland.
The STUC will
press the Scottish Government to enshrine
in law a requirement that the living
wage be paid by any employer bidding
for a public sector contract.
also called on the Scottish Government
to set up a Living Wage Unit and to produce
a Code of Practice on promoting the living
wage in procurement.
UNISON Scotland’s Depute Convenor
Stephen Smellie contrasted the wage freezes
and price increases which have caught
our members in a vice of declining living
standards, mounting debt, misery and
despair, with the bankers’ bonuses
scandal and the continuing rocketing
of executive salaries.
“As a matter of policy, a society of huge
inequality has grown to an obscenity,
where aspiration for the few to buy more
property abroad is contrasted with the
aspirations of the many simply to hang
on to a job and pay the bills and debts
each month to keep their heads above
water,” said Stephen.
“We know that an unequal society
performs poorer than a more equal society – in
health, life expectancy, educational
attainment, lower crime and quality of
life,” added Stephen, quoting his “political” hero,
Joe Strummer, that it is time to “phone
up Robin Hood and ask for some wealth
The living wage,
said Stephen, is more than just supporting
the low paid – it
is about transferring wealth from the
rich to the poor and is a significant
“And we have had some success,” added
Stephen pointing to the Living Wage offers
in local government and health.
told delegates that we should celebrate
these achievements and put
up posters saying “This is a Unionised Workplace – That is why
we have the living wage.”
And he referred to the constitutional
debate, reminding Congress that whether
we are being offered independence or
quo, it is not about a flag,
it is about the kind of Scotland we want to live in and that is a Scotland
that is just and fair and guarantees all workers a living wage.
18 April 2013