Scottish Greens secure wage boost for lowest paid workers

This morning the Scottish Government confirmed that from July 2023, businesses and other organisations applying for public sector grants will need to pay at least the real Living Wage and offer robust mechanisms for workers representation. 

These conditions have long been demanded by trade unions and anti-poverty groups, with support from the Scottish Greens. Both were key commitments in the Bute House Agreement between the Scottish Greens and the Scottish Government last year.

The fair work package was announced by Scottish Greens Co-leader Lorna Slater, Minister for Greens Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, and Employment and Fair Work Minister Richard Lochhead on a ministerial visit in Edinburgh.

Scottish Greens finance spokesperson Ross Greer said it was proof of how Scottish Greens in government are supporting workers during the cost of living crisis. He said:

“Scottish Greens have campaigned alongside trade unions over many years to ensure employers, especially those looking for public funds, pay at least the real Living Wage. I’m proud that now we’re in government, we’ve delivered this much needed change.

“Our efforts to boost the wages of the lowest paid and to give all workers a stronger voice stands in stark contrast with the UK Government’s relentless attacks on workers and their unions.

“The Scottish Government’s powers in this area are extremely limited. It is frustrating that we can’t simply raise the minimum wage above the poverty line for all workers, but that is a power we will only gain with independence.

“While the Tories look to chip away at incomes, pensions and the right to even challenge poor pay and conditions, Labour has abandoned workers and is too weak and embarrassed to even stand with trade unions."

The Scottish Greens Economy spokesperson Maggie Chapman said:

“We were clear in our discussions with the Scottish Government that led to the Bute House Agreement last year that our two of our priorities were tackling poverty and putting workers at the heart of our recovery. 

“Our communities and our workers are the economy, and it is only right that we ensure it works for them.

“The Scottish Greens have already secured Living Wage conditions for government procurement contracts, an end to the unfair and cruel benefit cap, a rent freeze and greater protections for tenants, free bus travel for young people and most recently the appointment of trade union representatives to all college boards, but we want to go much further.

“With the powers of an independent Scotland, we could do so much more. It would let us bring dramatic and sustained improvements to workers’ rights as part of a fairer, greener, more equal Scotland.”