As part of Living Wage Week, taking place from Monday 11 – Saturday 17 November, Renfrewshire South MSP Tom Arthur is encouraging local businesses to join him in becoming accredited living wage employers and backing calls demanding an end to the exploitation of young workers imposed by the UK Tory government’s minimum wage policy.
The UK government’s rebrand of the minimum wage has left around 89,000 young workers in Scotland– over a million across the UK – paid less for doing the same job purely because of their age.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the number of under 25s earning less than the current “national living wage” of £8.21 for over 25s is 89,000 in Scotland with a total of 1,076,000 across the UK.
The national minimum wage rate for 16-17-year-olds is £4.35, the apprentice rate is £3.90, the youth development rate for 18-20-year-olds is £6.15, and the 21-24 year old “adult” rate is £7.70. national minimum wage.
In contrast, the real Living Wage in Scotland, which is set according to the cost of living, has just risen to £9.30 an hour for everyone. More than 1,600 employers in Scotland currently pay the voluntary real Living Wage, benefitting over 41,000 workers.
More than a quarter of accredited real Living Wage employers in the UK are based in Scotland, including 11 in East Renfrewshire and 49 in Renfrewshire. The Scottish Government has paid all staff within their pay scheme, including NHS staff, the real Living Wage since 2011.
Research shows that paying the real Living Wage helps businesses recruit and retain better staff, reduce absenteeism, and encourage higher productivity.
Despite significant progress, 470,000 people in Scotland do not yet earn the Living Wage. In-work poverty also remains an issue, with 182,000 children in Scotland living in poverty despite having one person in their household in work.
The present Conservative government has committed to raising the national living wage to £10.50 by 2024, but this promise is too little too late.
That’s why the SNP supports payment of the real Living Wage, which ensures peoples basic wage continue to meet the real cost of living. In fact, the SNP has committed to fight for a real living wage of over £10 for all workers aged over 18.
Commenting, Tom Arthur MSP said:
“I am proud to be a Living Wage Employer. The implementation of the real Living Wage is essential to help lift people out of poverty and to help create a fairer society.
“With low pay one of the main drivers of in-work poverty, it is vital that employers who can pay the real Living Wage do so. I would strongly encourage employers in the Renfrewshire South area to look into the real benefits of becoming an accredited Living Wage employer.”
More information on becoming a real Living Wage Employer: https://www.livingwage.org.uk/become-a-living-wage-employer