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Scotland: Pressure mounts on council to bring in living wage
Ayrshire Post
Lisa Boyle

October 7, 2011
View the Original Article


A TRADE union has added its weight to a bid for hundreds of council workers to get a pay rise.

The GMB has campaigned tirelessly to have the Scottish Living Wage introduced at South Ayrshire Council.

The move would mean that up to 400 of the authorities lowest paid workers, like cleaners, could be in line for a wage hike of up to a pound an hour.

The council’s Labour group is putting forward a motion for the elected members to agree the implementation of the living wage of £7.20 an hour, starting from the next financial year.

Paul Arkison, of the GMB union, explained that this is an important step.

Mr Arkison told the Post: “This is a major breakthrough for the GMB trade union and our members.

“Given that the Scottish Government is committed to introducing a Living Wage nationally, we would hope that the SNP Members at the council support the GMB's campaign and vote in favour of this motion so that low paid workers can look forward to a long awaited increase in their earnings.”

Earlier this year, Mr Arkison wrote to the three main party leaders of South Ayrshire Council urging them to introduce the living wage.

He said: “The introduction of a living wage at South Ayrshire Council will have a two-fold benefit.

“It would give the lowest paid employees an increase in their salaries, which in turn may lead to more spending in the area which could boost the local economy.

“Given the rapid increase in the cost of living over the last year, and especially the cost of fuel, the UK’s national minimum wage bares little resemblance to the high cost of every day life.”

Labour group leader Councillor John McDowall said: “Other councils in Scotland have successfully implemented this, including Glasgow City, North Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway.

“And we do not see why this should not be introduced in South Ayrshire Council.

“This would apply to all our lower grade employees who currently earn less than this, and provide an earnings boost to employees during these difficult economic times.”

The motion goes on to request that the council will strive to ensure that all contractors and subcontractors engaged by the council will not pay their employees less than the living wage implemented by the council by April 1 next year.

The issue will be discussed at the full council meeting on Thursday.