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Living Wage Scotland Awards 2019: The Results!

Posted: 2019-11-16 10:42:28

Living Wage Scotland Awards 2019: The Results!

We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone that came to the Living Wage Scotland awards last night.   

Held at the Technology and Innovation Centre at the  University of Strathclyde on Friday the 15th of November, we celebrated Living Wage accredited employers who went above and beyond their dedication to the movement this year. For the second year running, the judging panel was very impressed with the high quality of applications and this year’s winners are truly deserving of their trophies. Here is a run through of the winners from last night.


Employee Choice Award


The employee choice award this year went to the Baldy Bane Theatre company. The judging panel was extremely impressed by the tangible difference which being paid the real Living Wage had made for their staff members as well as Baldy Bane’s commitment to pay the real Living Wage in the creative industries, where young people are often encouraged to work for free or for very little, to gain experience. One staff member explained:

“I’m a full-time wheelchair user and was recently able to purchase my first home as a direct result of earning a real living wage. I previously never thought this would be possible when working in minimum wage jobs. For the first time in my adult life, I am no longer reliant on disability benefits to supplement my wage”.

Newcomer of the Year Award

The newcomer category winner was Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, who impressed the judges with their commitment to the real Living Wage in the notoriously low paid animal welfare sector. Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home’s commitment to the real Living Wage saw more than half of their staff receive an uplift to the real Living Wage, showing real leadership to ensure their staff receive a fair day pay for an often emotionally and physically challenging day’s work.

As the first animal welfare organisation in Scotland to become an accredited Living Wage employer Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home are setting an example that, by valuing their people and what they do, they are also valuing their animals.

Industry Trailblazer Award

The third category, Industry Trailblazer, was won by Heart of Midlothian, the only Living Wage accredited football club in Scotland. While Hearts of Midlothian has always been an Industry Trailblazer, what impressed the judges was their continued commitment to the Living Wage and the role they have taken in championing it since their accreditation.  From producing videos discussing the Living Wage, to hosting events as well as speaking publicly about their commitment to the Living Wage, Heart of Midlothian have continued to highlight their role as a Trailblazer among professional football clubs across the UK.

Director of HR Janine Brown explained this commitment in their application:

“I think that this makes Heart of Midlothian FC’s commitment ever more so prevalent in an ever-competing commercial industry where every penny is a prisoner but paying the staff a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work is a top priority for the club”.

Outstanding Leadership Award

This year’s Outstanding Leadership Award went to the Dundee Living Wage Action Group, who became the first group in the UK to launch their ambition to make their city a Living Wage Place last March.  The announcement of Dundee as the first place to commit to this new scheme followed on from a period where the members of the Dundee Living Wage City Action Group supported Living Wage Scotland in developing the Living Wage Places model. The result was the announcement of their bold and ambitious plans to increase the number of workers covered by the real Living Wage in the city.

Following on from the launch of the action plan 15 new employers have accredited in the city, meaning 919 additional workers are now covered by Living Wage accreditation with 219 of these workers benefitting from a pay increase to the real Living Wage. Their actions as a group will continue to show leadership within the City and beyond as they work to make Dundee a Living Wage City.

Anchor Institution Award

Johnstons of Elgin was chosen as the winner of the Anchor Institution Award by the panel because of the massive impact accreditation had on their staff. Lat summer Johnstons of Elgin became the 1500th accredited Living Wage employer in Scotland and this accreditation resulted in 300 staff receiving an uplift the real Living Wage, with 100 of these staff being retail workers.

As a significant employer in both Elgin where the company was founded and in the Scottish Borders our judging panel were impressed by their commitment to providing secure jobs for their workers who are based mainly in rural areas and the company’s recognition that their employees are vital to the future of their company.

Group HR Director, Willie Wood, told us:

“We want our employees to feel valued, feel we truly do want to look after them and their wellbeing, and we want them to feel we are paying them a good wage for the work they undertake”.

Voice of the Year Award

This year’s Voice of the Year was Alison Henderson, Chief Executive of Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce. Alison has used her role to promote the real Living Wage and its benefits to their members through events, discussed it in features in their Chamber magazine, spoke about the Living Wage at events and engaged with key contacts in low paid sectors, encouraging other employers in the area to commit to paying the real Living Wage. The judging panel were impressed with the consistent dedication Alison displays in promoting the real Living Wage and its benefits to her members and beyond deciding that she is a very deserving winner of our Voice of the Year award.

Alison explained:

“Because I regularly talk about the benefits of being part of the Living Wage movement that opens conversations with businesses who may not have considered Accreditation, or understood how straightforward a process it could be”

Outstanding Contribution Award


This award went to an individual that works with an early Living Wage adopter. SSE became accredited in 2013, only the 13th Living Wage employer in Scotland and have been synonymous with the big business case for real Living Wage ever since. But the award is for an outstanding contribution that goes beyond the public facing role of.  It is also about the time, support and insight given to LWS over the last 5 year during her time as chair Leadership Group and now in her role on the board of the Poverty Alliance. We were delighted to announce that the Outstanding Contribution award went to Rachel McEwen, Chief Sustainability Officer at SSE.

The awards ceremony was a huge success this year and we would like to thank all our speakers: Jamie Hepburn, Minister Fair Work, Craig Hume, Director of Utopia Computers and member of Living Wage Scotland Leadership Group and Rachel McEwen, Chief Sustainability Officer at SSE.

Congratulations to all our finalists and we look forward to next year’s award nominations and applications!

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