An alliance of prominent local Living Wage employers in the Eildon area of the Scottish Borders have today launched an action plan setting out how they will work together on “Making Eildon a Living Wage Place”.
NHS Borders are one of the largest employers based in the Eildon area to become an accredited Living Wage employer and have joined the local Living Wage Action Group seeking to make Eildon a Living Wage Place.
Three thousand staff directly employed by NHS Borders were already earning at least the real Living Wage of £9.50 per hour, which is significantly higher than the government minimum for over 23s of £8.91. Their Living Wage accreditation will ensure workers employed through third party contracts will benefit from the real Living Wage, which is independently calculated each year to reflect living costs.
NHS Borders join other local Living Wage employers including Scottish Borders Council, Eildon Housing Association, the South of Scotland Enterprise Board (SOSE), Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce and WSZ Joiners who are working together to drive uptake of the real Living Wage across the area, to help ensure more local workers earn enough to meet their everyday needs.
There are 37 Living Wage accredited employers across the Scottish Borders region, 15 of which are in the Eildon area. More than 9000 workers are covered by a Living Wage commitment in Eildon.
The ambitious action plan launched today sets out how the Eildon Living Wage Action Group aims to double the number of accredited Living Wage employers in Eildon within the first year, tripling this within 18 months.
The Action Plan includes commitments to:
- Encourage employers in hospitality and tourism to commit to the real Living Wage
- Support and celebrate small businesses who join the Living Wage employer movement
- Grow the Living Wage movement across Eildon and the Scottish Borders
Andy Anderson, Chair of Eildon Living Wage Action Group (ELWAG) and elected member for Galashiels and District said:
“The Scottish Borders is a relatively low paying area and Eildon is no exception to this. The aim of Eildon Living Wage Action Group is to work with large ‘place-based’ institutions, such as NHS Borders, Scottish Borders Council and registered social landlords, together with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), local groups and the third sector to address the rise of in-work poverty and rebuild prosperity within local communities across Eildon. Representatives of a number of businesses, of various sizes, have come together, along with the Chamber of Commerce and others to form an Action Group.”
“We have already started work with some of these to produce case studies on how moving to the Living Wage has impacted them and their employees to help inform others considering moving to the Living Wage and becoming accredited as a Living Wage employer. There is a real opportunity for positive change in our communities coming out of Covid restrictions and my hope is that this group will be part of that change by addressing low pay in the Eildon locality.”
Robin Tatler, Executive Member for Community Development and Localities at Scottish Borders Council and Chair of Scottish Borders Living Wage Group said:
“Making Eildon a Living Wage Place is the latest initiative in our campaign to encourage all employers in the Scottish Borders to pay their workers the Living Wage. It is a huge boost to that campaign to also welcome NHS Borders as an accredited Living Wage employer. Added to the accreditation of Scottish Borders Council this means that many employees across the Borders are now paid fairly for the work they do.”
“Our challenge now is to encourage smaller employers in all sectors to follow this lead, and the Eildon Living Wage Action Group will be a focus for that work where many such organisations operate.”
Ralph Roberts, Chief Executive of NHS Borders, said:
“We are delighted to join the growing number of Living Wage accredited local employers. The size and scale of health boards mean that they are rooted in our communities and this provides opportunities to positively contribute in many ways beyond providing health care.”
“As an anchor institution in the Borders we can influence the health and wellbeing of our communities simply by being here. We can have an even greater impact on the wider factors that make us all healthy by choosing to invest and work with others locally and responsibly. One of these key factors is ensuring that a fair Living Wage is paid not only to our own staff but to those of the suppliers and contractors that we work with.”
Richard Lochhead, Scottish Government Fair Work Minister said:
“It is fantastic to hear that Scottish Borders are celebrating two important milestones in promoting payment of the real Living Wage today. I congratulate the Scottish Borders Living Wage Action Group on the launch of their action plan setting out how they will work together on making Eildon a Living Wage Place, and I welcome the announcement of NHS Borders achieving Living Wage Employer accreditation, thereby joining 37 other Living Wage accredited employers across the Scottish Borders region.”
“The significance of the real Living Wage cannot be overstated. Evidence shows that paying it leads to increased productivity, better morale and lower sickness absence. The Scottish Government has long championed Fair Work and paying the real Living Wage. It ensures that workers are treated fairly and get more money in their pockets. It benefits our economy too, showing that what is good for workers is also good for business and for the economy.”
Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance said:
“We know that the real Living Wage can bring improvements in both the physical and mental wellbeing of workers and is an important aspect of tackling in-work poverty and health inequalities.”
“Congratulations to the Eildon Living Wage Action Group for taking on the role as local Living Wage champions, and we are delighted that NHS Borders has become an accredited Living Wage employer, strengthening the launch of the campaign to Make Eildon a Living Wage Place”
Christine McCaig, Living Wage Projects Coordinator said:
“Congratulations to the Eildon Living Wage Action Group on their commitment to encourage more local employers to join the Living Wage movement. We look forward to engaging with more Eildon based employers who, like NHS Borders and the employers involved in the Eildon Living Wage Place Action Group, want to ensure workers have what they need to live on and want to play their part in Making Eildon a Living Wage Place.”