In the last fortnight alone, Glasgow has seen its fair share of collective action from workers. From the equal pay marchers and strikers, to the teachers marching for a decent pay rise and most recently Tuesday seeing precarious workers and campaigners taking to George Square for better conditions and a real living wage. There’s a clear appetite for demanding better from employers, and the Scottish Living Wage Campaign wants to harness this momentum and support people to campaign for the real Living Wage of £9 per hour (as of November 2018).
The real Living Wage is one of the key tools we have to solve poverty in Scotland. The campaign has run since 2007, and has overseen a number of key wins that have progressed the cause of workers in Scotland. In early 2014, for example, the campaign was successful in ensuring that the Scottish Government made amendments to the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill to require local authorities to include the real Living Wage as part of the evaluation process in procurement processes. In addition to this, the campaigning in Scotland was a key driver in the launch of the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Programme, which has seen over 1,000 employers become accredited Living Wage employers. This commits employers to not only pay the real Living Wage to their staff, but also any outsourced workers such as cleaners and caterers.
In a compassionate society that believes in justice, campaigning for the real Living Wage should be at the forefront of all our minds. In Scotland, there are currently around 470,000 workers not receiving at least the real Living Wage. Living on an income as low as this means having to face impossible choices every month; choosing between heating or eating, how to tell your child they can’t go to their friend’s birthday party, taking an extra shift on at work or visiting family. It often means wondering how you’re going to find the money to afford the transport to work in the first place.
It’s a struggle that women feel the impact of the most. Two-thirds of workers earning less than the real Living Wage are women. Precarious, underpaid and undervalued work such as cleaning, caring and retail are locking women in poverty. Employers committing to paying the real Living Wage can be a part of solving this.
As it is Living Wage Week, we’re hosting an event in Dundee on the 7th of November with Abertay Students Association; bringing together campaigners, workers and students to map out where the priorities should lie for the future of living wage campaigning in Scotland. We previously held a similar event in Edinburgh, where the gendered nature of low pay, low wage economies such as hospitality and young people’s rights were all highlighted as key priories for the years ahead.
We want the campaign to support as many people as possible to campaign for a wage that adequately provides for them, but we can only do this with the support of others. So if you believe in a Scotland free from the grip of poverty and where everyone can access a decent standard of living, then join us in campaigning for the Living Wage for all.
If you have any thoughts on how you’d like to shape the future of campaign, please feel free to drop us an email to Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow the campaign on Twitter at @ScottishLivingW.