Living Wage Scotland Awards 2022

18 November 2022

This year’s Living Wage Scotland Awards took place on Thursday 17 November at the stunning Scotch Whisky Experience, a 5 star visitor attraction on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

A huge thank you to everyone for making this a night to remember. The event was hosted by the wonderful writer, broadcaster and comedian Susan Morrison and we were delighted to hear from the inspiring Alison Edgar MBE, the Entrepreneur’s Godmother. We also heard from Richard Lochhead, Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work, Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance and Craig Hume from Utopia Computers who was honoured for his Outstanding Contribution to the Living Wage Movement.

We would also like to thank SSE plc, our sponsors for the evening, Kate Wallace-Lockhart, Head of Sustainability at SSE Renewables for her welcome video, and all our employers and employees who contributed to a video telling us what the real Living Wage means to them. You can watch these on our Vimeo channel

Newcomer of the Year Award – Begg Shoes

Begg Shoes are an independent and family run footwear retailer who adopted the real Living Wage in a particularly challenging time for retailers. Begg Shoes have been raising awareness among fellow retailers, a sector where the Living Wage remains aspirational but very difficult to achieve for most.

Begg Shoes told us: “The timing of pay awards to such a large proportion of employees represented a significant financial shock to the business. However, it has been clear for a long time that it is the high level of customer service and expertise we provide which differentiates Begg Shoes in an incredibly competitive retail market. Keeping and recruiting the best people was key to survival of the business and the living wage accreditation represented an investment in those people who would ultimately help to sustain future success for the business.”

Trailblazer Award – Manorview Hotels

Manorview are an independent Scottish Hospitality group who aim to make hospitality better for everyone. This includes payment of the real Living Wage and sharing the company profits with employees, so that everyone can enjoy the successes of the business.

Manorview told us: The Living Wage gives us a fair pay structure to work from. We want to demonstrate to people that hospitality is an excellent, rewarding industry to be part of, and we firmly believe that committing to paying the Living Wage is one very important way we can show this.”

Living Hours Award – Cairn Ecology

Cairn Ecology are a consultancy who are passionate about the science of ecology. They prioritise their people, creating a workplace where people can be their authentic selves. They have removed seasonal and part-time contracts as a result of the Living Hours accreditation, leading to greater security for their staff team.

Cairn Ecology told us:

“We believe that this will promote a greater acknowledgement for the value of staff members, and the value of investing in your team members development beyond the length of one survey season. This in turn will create more reliable working conditions for workers, and a more sustainable attitude in employers.”

Employee Choice Award – Collabor8te

Collabor8te is a flexible coworking and meeting space in the heart of Glasgow, focused on community, building trust, knowledge and friendship amongst their members. Collabor8te really does go above and beyond, offering personalized training of their employee’s choice, a four-day working week, financial bonuses and support for staff during the pandemic.

Alena from Collabor8te told us: “Thanks to Teresa, I was never afraid of my financial circumstances during the lockdowns. I knew that letting the employees go would be the last step she would ever do, if the company got into serious existential problems because of the pandemic.”

Local Champion Award – Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce  (DACC)

DACC use their influence to promote the Living Wage in their local community in many ways, including hosting events and using their media channels to highlight employers who have joined the movement. They also stand out in there active engagement with the Living Wage movement via the Dundee Living Wage Action Group, something that is extremely valuable to the Dundee Living Wage places activity.

DACC told us: “The impact of an uplift in wages on people, especially during a pandemic, is really key to improving the lives of people in the city. When new employers accredit, we publish their stories to remind others to consider it too. Having more employers paying the Living Wage means the average wages across the city will then rise as more & more companies follow suit.”

Outstanding Leadership Award – Edinburgh Living Wage City Action Group (ELWCAG)

ELWCAG have had a huge impact in a very short space of time. There encouraged  growth of the Living Wage network in the city and use their influence as much as possible to get the Living Wage message out, including creating media content, organizing events and establishing focus campaigns.

ELWCAG told us: “We are committed to helping Edinburgh become a city where work can offer people a secure income that is enough to live on. Real living wage accreditation is a critical part of this plan, but the work of the group other aspects of fair work beyond pay levels alone.”

Outstanding Contribution Award – Craig Hume

Our final award of the evening went to Craig Hume, owner of Utopia Computers in Kilmarnock. Utopia build the fastest, most customisable computers in the world and Craig realised early on that in order to keep his talented team of multi award-winning engineers, thinkers, modders and tech fanatics, he needed to give them a reason to stay.

Craig was an early supporter of the real Living Wage and he has continually championed the movement. He is currently a member of the Living Wage Scotland Leadership Group and a member of the Living Wage Commission who oversee the rate calculation.

It really is a testament to Craig’s passion and commitment to the real Living Wage movement that he is known amongst many circles as the “Living Wage guy” and we were delighted to honour him for all his hard work.

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