As 2020 draws to a close, it’s timely to reflect on our experience of the past year, and the impact of the pandemic on the Living Wage movement in Scotland.
At the beginning of the year, the Living Wage Scotland team had set out to increase uptake of Living Wage employer accreditation amongst small businesses, childcare providers, public sector ‘anchor’ institutions and the third sector.
Of course, we had not anticipated a global pandemic and in March, we temporarily paused some of our outreach activities while our team adjusted to working from home. This meant adapting to new technology and learning to juggle work with childcare and other caring responsibilities. Despite initial challenges, we soon found our feet and welcomed a few guests stars to our team meetings – like Rachel’s cat Alfie!
Like everyone, Living Wage employers were facing challenges and pressures at the beginning of the pandemic, and our number one priority supporting was to offer support to our network. On reaching out to members of our network, we heard about incredible acts of resilience and kindness. We featured positive stories on our social media and website through spring and summer to highlight the ways in which Living Wage employers were supporting their teams, their communities and collaborating with others.
The pandemic brought a sharper focus in the public narrative on the role of good jobs and the importance of our key workers. In the summer, we reshaped our accreditation campaigns that had been interrupted, and launched new Living Wage accreditation campaigns to expand the Living Wage movement in sectors such as Social care, Manufacturing, and Professional services. We are proud that more than 200 new organisations have joined the movement since the first lockdown in March, signalling that employers are prioritising their teams in these difficult times.
In November, we hosted our first ever fully digital Living Wage Week, which was a huge success, with a programme of industry focused events. We launched our brand-new Living Wage Scotland website and reached an important milestone of 1900 accredited Living Wage employers in Scotland.
Moving into the festive season, we published our Christmas Gift Guide, spotlighting some of the fantastic offerings from Living Wage employers in Scotland. We are preparing for new engagement activity in 2021, to ensure that more employers are encouraged to join the Living Wage movement in the new year.
More of us in our society are questioning the sustainability and existence of low pay and in-work poverty. The Living Wage Scotland team are more committed than ever to helping employers act, to ensure workers can cover their everyday needs with the security of a real Living Wage.