Every year, we encourage employers from across Scotland to host Scottish Government ministers to celebrate Living Wage Week. Ministerial visits are a great opportunity for employers to showcase the work of their organisation, and to celebrate their commitment to the Living Wage movement and fair work. It helps boost the profile of the movement and gives us at Living Wage Scotland the opportunity to get out and about and meet a wide range of Living Wage accredited employers. This year was no different and we would like to thank all the employers who celebrated their commitment by hosting a visit. We would like to highlight just some of the ministerial engagements this year which raised the profile of the real Living Wage and Living Hours across Scotland.
Our first visit, leading up to Living Wage Week, was to Neighbourhood Networks in Govan, who welcomed the Minister for Social Care, Mental Well-being and Sport, Maree Todd. The charity facilitates networks of mutual support amongst vulnerable adults in various parts of Scotland. It was fantastic to hear not just from staff but from service users who shared with the minister the impact the service has on their lives.
On Thursday 2nd, we visited Bikes for Refugees in Edinburgh who shared their commitment to the real Living Wage with Emma Rodderick, Minister for Equalities, Migration and Refugees. We also heard from Project Worker/Mechanic Callum who spoke about the impact being paid the real Living Wage has had on his life.
Retail eyewear brand IOLLA welcomed the Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights, Patrick Harvie, on the 3rd of November. Representatives from IOLLA shared their pride in being an accredited Living Wage employer and the positive impact this has had on their staff across their 4 showrooms.
Kicking off Living Wage Week on 6th November, Carluke-based R&W Scott, a real Living Wage and Living Hours accredited employer, hosted Cabinet for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy, Neil Gray. The Scottish Government announced their accreditation as a Living Hours employer during this visit.
On Tuesday 7th, we visited the Glasgow Film Theatre and Invisible Cities. The Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development, Christina McKelvie, visited Glasgow Film to hear more about their programmes and their longstanding commitment to paying the real Living Wage. We also had the opportunity to chat with front-of-house staff members Euan and Katie about their experiences being paid a real Living Wage and their experiences working at the GFT more generally.
Invisible Cities was a bit of a different visit. Invisible Cities is a social enterprise that trains people who have experienced homelessness to become tour guides of their own city. Thank you to Customer Service Assistant Craig and Tour Guide Jason who brought us and the Minister for Housing, Paul McLennan, on a walking tour of some of Edinburgh’s sights. We really enjoyed the tour which included Grassmarket Community Project, Greyfriars Kirk, City Chambers, Tron Kirk, and Scottish Parliament.
On the Wednesday, longtime accredited Living Wage employer SSE hosted an event with Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work Neil Gray, where 4 Living Wage accredited employers LifeLink, GavHas, The Good Spirit Co, and Sprigg had the opportunity to share how their organisations are managing to maintain their commitment to the real Living Wage and the benefits it has had to their businesses.
On Thursday 9th, we welcomed Cabinet Secretary Neil Gray to present the Living Hours award at the Living Wage Scotland Awards held at Scotland’s design museum, the V&A in Dundee.
On Friday 10th November, we rounded off the two weeks of ministerial engagements by visiting Angus Grill and Larder in Brechin who hosted Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform, and Islands. Angus Grill and Larder were the second accredited Living Wage employer in Angus. It was wonderful to hear about the benefits their accreditation has brought them.
Again, we would like to thank the Ministers and their teams for their time and to thank all the Living Wage accredited employers across Scotland for hosting us. We really enjoyed visiting you all and hearing about the positive impact accredited employers are making in their commitment to the real Living Wage.