Paying a living wage benefits all

Scotland's Finance Secretary John Swinney. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Scotland's Finance Secretary John Swinney. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

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THIS week is Living Wage Week, which highlights a worthwhile measure that ensures that companies across Scotland can pay their staff fairly.

Yesterday, SSE hosted an event at our Perth headquarters with Scotland’s Finance Secretary John Swinney to trumpet the increased UK living wage rate from £7.65 to £7.85.

That means that more than 30,000 UK workers will receive a boost to their pay packets and I’m proud to say that includes SSE.

The national minimum wage is set at £6.50.

Currently 1,000 businesses in the UK pay the living wage and of those 60 are based in Scotland.

Recent converts include RBS, Standard Life and the SECC but I’d like to see that number rise and my message to other employers is that accreditation is straightforward.

SSE was proud to become one of the first big companies to pay its employees the living wage last year – the largest FTSE 100 company to do so at the time.

It means that at any SSE site workers, whether directly employed by us or not, are guaranteed a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

That is because we are making an even bigger impact across our £2 billion-a-year supply chain by rolling out the living wage so that contracted employees receive it too.

This year, SSE received the Living Wage Champion Award for Scotland, which reflects the hard work that goes into making sure all our contracts are now living wage compliant.

Paying the living wage benefits customers too. They can feel reassured they are buying their energy from a company that is doing the right thing – and we are currently the only major energy supplier to do so.

Paying the living wage is one of several actions SSE is taking to make a difference, including being recently recognised as the first FTSE 100 company to be awarded the Fair Tax Mark and freezing our prices until at least 2016.

The living wage means workers receive fair wages and not poverty wages. It provides a direct boost to the pay packets of SSE workers and contractors and shows a company doing the right thing – something that is highly valued by my employees.

• Alistair Phillips-Davies is the Chief Executive of energy company SSE

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