East Ayrshire commits to the real Living Wage, for the real cost of living

On Thursday 16 April, the Executive Committee welcomed the news that the Council had achieved accredited living wage status after undergoing a rigorous application process. As a result, 350 of our third-party contracted employees will receive a real Living Wage of £9.30.

By paying the real Living Wage rather than the national Living Wage, which stands at £8.72 for workers aged 25 and over, employees aged 25 and over will earn an average of £1131 more a year. The difference between the national Living Wage and the real Living Wage is even more marked for younger workers. Those aged 18 and over can earn an average of £5558 more each year.

Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of the Council said: “The real Living Wage, unlike the national Living Wage, is based upon living costs including housing, food, childcare, transport and essential items of clothing, like winter coats for children.

“The Living Wage Commission oversees the Resolution Foundation which calculates the hourly rate annually. The Commission is an independent body consisting of trade unions, key employers and academics. It announces the real Living Wage rate each November during Living Wage Week and the hourly rate currently stands at £9.30 for people aged 18 years and over.

“As part of our accreditation journey we engaged with individual contractors and found that 88% were already committed to paying the real Living Wage. We will continue to work with contractors to get this figure as close to 100% as possible.

“The Council wholly supports the real Living Wage, it is an important part of our vision for East Ayrshire and for our local workforce. Our employees, and those employed by contractors, fulfil key roles and provide essential services throughout East Ayrshire, never has their importance been more evident than now. I am so proud of our employees and of our Council for achieving accredited living wage status.”

Living Wage Scotland worked closely with officers from Human Resources and Procurement ensuring that important milestones, including working with individual contractors to adopt the real living wage, were set and achieved.

The Council pays above the real living wage to directly employed workers aged 18 and over. The accreditation work therefore focused on contractors undertaking regular work for or on behalf of the Council. Contractors engaged positively throughout the accreditation process, building stronger relationships with the Council. This made the whole process a very positive experience for everyone involved.

Jack Evans, Living Wage Scotland Manager said: “Congratulations to East Ayrshire Council on becoming an accredited Living Wage Employer. This accreditation is a signal of their commitment to tackle low pay and in-work poverty, which is more important now than ever.

“Local authorities are key employers in their local area. They are not only large employers with significant spending power, but also act as an example to other employers in the area. We hope, after this announcement, more are encouraged to become accredited and ensure that both directly employed and contracted staff are paid the real Living Wage.”