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Scotland: Living wage proposed for all Holyrood firms' staff
Scotland on Sunday
Andrew Whitaker

August 7, 2011
View the Original Article

PRIVATE firms with Scottish Government contracts could be forced to pay the "living wage" of £7.15 per hour under a change to the law due to come before Holyrood this autumn.

Labour MSP John Park is to introduce a member's bill to the Scottish Parliament in the next parliamentary session, which would mean all companies involved in buying or selling goods to the government would have to pay the wage.

Scotland on Sunday revealed that 1,000 people who work for Scottish Government-funded public bodies are earning less than the living wage, even though First Minister Alex Salmond pledged that all government staff would be paid above the £7.15 per hour rate.

However, Park wants the living wage - a pay packet that is beyond the statutory minimum wage of £5.93 but which is defined as the minimum required to provide an adequate living standard for a worker and their family - to cover government contractors as well as public bodies.

Park, a former trade union official, said making the living wage a contractual obligation would benefit tens of thousands of workers.

"The bill would make it a contractual condition that the living wage is paid to the employees of firms involved in providing goods and services to the Scottish Government, rather than it being voluntary," he said.

"Good employers would be happy about having the living wage in place as they wouldn't want to be undercut by cowboys. The cost of this would be marginal to business, but I'll be asking the views of companies during the consultation process on this."