Scotland’s colleges celebrate living wage accreditation

Shona Struthers, spokesperson for the Employers’ Association

SCOTLAND’S college sector is celebrating its achievements as accredited Living Wage Employers.

The sector-wide move towards Living Wage Accreditation – which is a first for a sector in Scotland – will mean that staff working in Scotland’s colleges, whether directly employed or contracted via a third party, receive the real Living Wage for their work.

The Living Wage is an hourly rate of pay which is set independently and updated annually, in accordance with the basic cost of living in the United Kingdom. The commitment means that all staff, irrespective of their employment status, will receive upwards of the current hourly rate of £9.50 an hour.

The announcement comes after confirmation that the 22 signatory colleges to the National Recognition and Procedures Agreement of the National Joint Negotiating Committee, established to facilitate National Bargaining in Scotland’s college sector, have all been named as Living Wage Employers by Living Wage Scotland.

The 22 signatory colleges that have received Living Wage Accreditation are: Argyll College UHI, Ayrshire College, Borders College, City of Glasgow College, Dumfries and Galloway College, Dundee and Angus College, Edinburgh College, Fife College, Forth Valley College, Glasgow Clyde College, Glasgow Kelvin College, Lews Castle College UHI, Moray College UHI, Newbattle Abbey College, New College Lanarkshire, North East Scotland College, North Highland College UHI, Perth College UHI, Inverness College UHI, South Lanarkshire College, West College Scotland, and West Lothian College.

Shona Struthers, spokesperson for the Employers’ Association, said:

“The news that all 22 signatory colleges in Scotland are now Living Wage Accredited is testament to the sector’s commitment to investing in and supporting the invaluable staff that we have.

“As responsible employers, Scotland’s colleges recognise that content and rewarded staff are key to the sector thriving.  Living Wage Accreditation is a big step forward in ensuring that staff members working in our sector contribute to its success are rewarded for that work. 

“We will continue to work in partnership with the trade unions to take forward the National Bargaining agenda.”

Chris Greenshield, Secretary of the UNISON Scotland Further Education Branch, said:

“We are delighted on behalf of the many outsourced workers in FE working in (but not exclusively) cleaning, security and catering who have struggled for many years on low pay and who provide such a critical service for our students and staff. This was on the agenda at the very first meeting of the national bargaining machinery in October 2014 and we are pleased to have reached this important milestone. We welcome this achievement and note that it shows that the national machinery can make a real difference to the working lives of our staff if we have the collective desire to do so.

“We believe we still have more to do to improve the terms of conditions of outsourced workers in colleges and hope that the employers will work in partnership with us to do so.”

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