Challenge Poverty Week - Fife Council and Living Wage Ambitions
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Challenge Poverty Week: Day Three – Living Wage

Fife Council

This week is #ChallengePovertyWeek

Every day this week COSLA is putting the spotlight on a different Scottish local authority to highlight the steps they’re taking to tackle poverty in their community.

Today we are focussing on Fife Council and their ambitions for the Living Wage.

Glenrothes was the first town in the UK to be awarded recognition by Living Wage Scotland for its plan to become a 'Living Wage' town.

The action plan focuses on encouraging local employers to pay their employees the Living Wage, currently £9.00 per hour, and become accredited by Living Wage Scotland.

The Action Group includes Fife Council, Fife Voluntary Action and Fife College, representing some of the largest employers in the town, alongside Glenrothes businesses including Glenwood Hairdressing Salon and Landfall Scaffolding. Nearly 65 Fife employers have already committed to ensuring all their staff and subcontracted staff receive a real Living Wage which is higher than the government minimum of £8.21 per hour.

The Fairer Fife Commission recommended that Fife should become a Living Wage region and Fife Council as the largest Living Wage employer in Glenrothes is playing its part in pushing the initiative forward.

Councillor David Alexander, Co-Leader of Fife Council said:

“Glenrothes is leading the way by becoming the first town in the UK to take this town-based approach to addressing the issue of low payFife Council's aim is to create conditions in Fife where all residents have the capability to live good lives, make choices and reach their potential. As part of our strategy to create a Fairer Fife we recognise the value of joining the Living Wage accreditation scheme. I’m delighted to announce the launch of the ‘Making Glenrothes a Living Wage Town’ action plan and I encourage business owners and employers to find out more on the website”

Councillor David Ross, Co-Leader of Fife Council said:

We are putting fairness at the heart of everything we do by bringing together Fife’s communities, services and businesses to fight poverty and inequality. A key element in creating a Fairer Fife is encouraging employers to pay the Living Wage as a way of demonstrating their leadership and commitment to their community.

We will be working together with our partner businesses and organisations on the Action Group to encourage and influence others to achieve Living Wage accreditation. This will not only to benefit employees but the whole community and if more businesses in the town can pay their staff the Living Wage we will build a strong reputation for being a great place to work and live.”

Glenwood Salon owner, Brent Burnett who is part of the Living Wage Town Action Group said:

“I pay my staff the Living Wage because they deserve it and I want to treat them well. I appreciate the hard work and loyalty they give me in return and most have been with me for a long time.

I feel strongly about my local community, with both my customers and staff living locally I feel the business is firmly rooted here in Glenwood. By being accredited by Living Wage Scotland I not only benefit the staff, but the whole community. If I have happy staff I know I will have happy customers.”

Gordon Slight Managing Director Landfall scaffolding , who is part of the Living Wage Town Action Group said:

“We are a family business and have always believed that being fair to people means they will be fair in return. We place a massive emphasis on the quality of service our staff give to our customers so it's important that their work is fairly rewarded. Living Wage accreditation demonstrates our commitment to values of fairness and helps us attract good young people to train within our business.”

Cllr Fiona Grant, a member of the Action Group, said:

"This launch marks the end of the beginning in as much as we now have the right folk round the table and an agreed action plan.

It also marks the beginning of the actual campaign to start discussions with every employer out there to consider why they don’t currently pay the hourly rate considered to be necessary for a decent standard of living. Different employers have different challenges but the steering group will look to support each and every one of them towards gaining living wage accreditation”.

Cllr Altany Craik, a member of the Action Group, said:

"As a cornerstone of our fairness agenda, fair pay for work is vital.  Following on from the Fife Business Charter, which sets out the commitment to make Fife a fair work economy, our aspiration to make Glenrothes a Living Wage town is a signal that we recognise the importance of the Living wage in making Fifers lives better.

Working with our businesses, together we will make Glenrothes the place for others to follow.  Fairness matters and becoming a Living Wage town is the start of our journey."

The Action Plan sets out how the Action Group intends to triple the number of accredited employers based in Glenrothes in the first year, as well as encouraging large employers in the local area to demonstrate their commitment to the real Living Wage by becoming accredited.