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It mostly covers my work as UNISON Scotland's Head of Policy and Public Affairs although views are my own. For full coverage of UNISON Scotland's policy and campaigns please visit our web site. You can also follow me on Twitter. I hope you find this blog interesting and I would welcome your comments.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Scottish Living Wage

Scottish Labour Leader Iain Gray announced at the UK Labour conference today that Scottish Labour will introduce the Living Wage if elected next year. This is very welcome and is an important step towards a goal that UNISON and partrner organisations have been campaigning for over the past year or so.

Low pay remains a very real problem for hundreds of thousands of workers across Scotland. The national minimum wage has helped outlaw blatant exploitation and the tax credit system has helped boost the pay of thousands of low paid workers. But despite this over 350,000 full time workers are low paid. The existence of so many low paid jobs traps individuals and families in poverty, denying the opportunities and choices that should be for everyone in a country as wealthy as Scotland.

In the current financial position we should also recognise the positive economic contribution a Living Wage can make. The cost to the public purse is marginal and low paid workers spend most of their wages in the local community. This stimulates an economy that by next May will be devastated by the Con-Dem cuts.

The Living Wage is just the sort of radical policy Scottish Labour needs to energise its supporters. There won't be the money for big spending commitments, so Labour needs to adopt other measures that reflect the concerns of supporters.

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