UNISONScotland www
This is our archive website that is no longer being updated.
For the new website please go to
Click here
Home News About us Join Us Contacts Help Resources Learning Links UNISON UK



STUC 2013 Perth

For a more equal society we need a living wage for all workers

Stephen Smellie
Stephen Smellie

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.

Congress 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 distribution.”

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 economic demand.

“And we have had some success,” added Stephen pointing to the Living Wage offers in local government and health.

Stephen 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 the status 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

top | STUC Index