An ambitious action plan to Make Aberdeen a Living Wage City, launched in November 2022 by the Aberdeen Living Wage Action Group, has seen early progress in growing the number of accredited Living Wage employers in the city.
The Action Group is a collaboration of employers and stakeholders from across the public, private and third sectors, on behalf of Community Planning Aberdeen.
There are now more than 80 accredited employers committed to voluntarily paying staff the real Living Wage in Aberdeen, including recently accredited Grampian Fasteners and bspoq. The Action Group hope this activity will encourage more employers to join the movement.
However, around 10,000 workers in Aberdeen City still earn less than a real Living Wage and around 5,500 children in the city live in poverty. While the economy of Aberdeen has prospered, there are large numbers of the population who have never benefited directly from this prosperity but instead continue to be negatively impacted by the high cost of living.
There are over 3,000 accredited Living Wage employers in Scotland who are committed to paying a real Living Wage. The real Living Wage is the only UK wage rate calculated according to the costs of living. It is currently £10.90 and is significantly higher than the government minimum for over 23s which at present stands at £10.42 per hour (from 1 April 2023).
Since 2011 the Living Wage movement has delivered a pay rise to over 60,000 people in Scotland and put over £370 million extra into the pockets of low paid Scottish workers. Research from the Smith Institute found that if 25% of low earners had their pay raised to the real Living Wage, this could deliver a £3m boost to Aberdeen’s local economy through increased consumer spending.
Andrew Alleway, Managing Director of Tidy Green Clean and Chair of the Aberdeen City Living Wage Action Group said:
“Aberdeen’s ambition to become a Living Wage City is an essential initiative for the overall economic wellbeing of our region. When people are paid well, with fair contracts, and schedules that they know in advance, people are more productive and able to live better quality lives. They’re able to plan and provide for their families, which is what everyone wants to do. Yet the statistics are stark and we need to encourage all business owners to take this step, to make a real difference to boost the social and economic life of Aberdeen and beyond.”
Gary Henderson, Managing Director of Grampian Fasteners said:
“We just feel that paying the real Living Wage is the right thing to do. A team that has to worry less about money is a happier team. We’ve been paying the real Living Wage for a number of years but we’ve decided to become accredited to demonstrate our commitment to the team. We also hope it’ll encourage other companies to do the same.”
Kylie Moles, Head of Marketing, bspoq said:
“Our culture, and the welfare of our staff is really important to us at bspoq. We are so happy to be accredited as a Living Wage employer in Scotland and show our commitment to the people behind the brand.”
Christine McCaig, Living Wage Project Co-ordinator said:
“We are delighted to support the Aberdeen City Living Wage Action Group in their ambition. The Living Wage Places scheme provides an opportunity for employers and stakeholders to work collaboratively towards ending in-work poverty. We hope to see many more employers joining over 80 Living Wage employers currently accredited in Aberdeen city, helping to ensure people earn what they need to live on.”