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Scottish Universities Show Support for the real Living Wage

Posted: 2018-11-06 16:04:02

Scottish Universities Show Support for the real Living Wage

(L-R)Alex Killick, Director of People, Glasgow Caledonian University Debbie Dyker, Director of People, University of Aberdeen Richard Claughton, Deputy Director of HR, University of Glasgow Louise Kidd, HR Partner, University of Edinburgh

Our universities play an important role within society. As institutions of knowledge, information and ideas they play an integral part in the development and progression of social change and innovation but they are also large employers. Scotland is fortunate to have world leading higher education facilities and Living Wage Scotland are proud to have several of these as accredited Living Wage employers, voicing their commitment and support of the real Living Wage movement and publicly acknowledging  that a hard day’s work deserves a fair days pay.

The Living Wage Foundation has aims to make higher education a Living Wage sector, and with more than 1/3 of universities and 60% of colleges already accredited, Scotland has played a prominent role in achieving this goal to date.   

In order to celebrate the success of universities in Scotland who support the real Living Wage, we have been speaking with three of the accredited Scottish universities in order to hear about their experience and gain insight on why they believe the real Living Wage is important within higher education, and for Scotland as a whole.

Alex Killick, Director of People at Glasgow Caledonian University explained their motivation for adopting the real Living Wage and becoming the first accredited Living Wage University in Scotland:

“It’s the right thing to do, first and foremost. Employers often talk a good game about being fair and inclusive but the reality is that people in low paid jobs struggle because the minimum wage is insufficient to sustain a good quality of life. Actions speak louder than words and paying a decent wage using the Living Wage rate better reflects the living costs of 21st century UK and shows that we genuinely value our staff”

The accreditation of six universities in Scotland has led to over 2000 workers receiving a pay increase to the real Living Wage.

The report ‘The local Living Wage dividend’ produced by the Smith Institute report highlights that universities who chose to become accredited have the ability to take on a leadership role within their communities and set an example for other employers to follow. This leadership is invaluable to the Living Wage movement as we continue our work to ensure all workers receive the wage they need to achieve a basic standard of life.

Richard Claughton, Deputy Director of HR at the University of Glasgow spoke to us about why the University chose to become an officially accredited employer;

 “Seeking accreditation ensured that all those working at the University including our own casual workers but also contractors were paid the living wage.  The exercise enabled us to identify all those who regularly do work for the University and work, as far as practical with our suppliers to ensure all were paid at least the Living Wage.  The majority of people working at the University are directly employed and we believe adopting the living wage has improved our position as an employer of choice and retention within the impacted group of staff

A recent survey completed by the Living Wage Foundation and National Union of Students  showed that fair pay for all staff working on university premises is an important issue for students. The survey polled 1473 students, 92% of students responded that they believe all university workers should be paid the real Living Wage. It also revealed that 53% of students would be more likely to support their university after graduation if the university paid staff the real Living Wage instead of the government minimum.

Louise Kidd, HR Partner with the University of Edinburgh discussed why other universities and employers should consider accreditation;

Accreditation has strengthened the University’s commitment to paying a living wage to regular contractors as well as employees.  We would strongly recommend that other Universities adopt the Living Wage as this will increase the status of Universities as fair employers and higher wages do have an impact on recruitment and retention

Living Wage Scotland is delighted to have these universities along with University of Aberdeen, Queen Margaret University, University of Strathclyde and numerous other institutions of higher education making a commitment to their staff by paying them the real Living Wage. They are leaders in this sector and we hope their positive experience will encourage other further education facilities to join the movement of fair pay for all in the Education sector.

 

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