North Scottish Labour MSP Rhoda Grant has welcomed the increase of the living wage for public workers across the Highlands and Islands and Scotland, but has demanded that the Scottish Government close the low pay loophole so that it can be extended to more workers.
The living wage is now set at £7.65 and hour, which represents to a full time minimum wage worker the Highlands and Islands an increase of over £2,500 a year.
Rhoda Grant has also signed a motion in Holyrood supporting the living wage, and is calling upon the Scottish Government to deliver it for workers on public contracts in the Highlands and Islands
Currently, people employed by Scottish Government departments are paid the living wage; however jobs employed by the Scottish Government on sub-contracts, such as cleaning, catering and retail, can be paid at a lower rate.
Rhoda Grant MSP has stated this loophole is “morally wrong”, and undermines the cause of the living wage in the public sector, and has criticised the SNP for not extending the living wage to workers in the region but offering a £385m tax cut to big businesses.
Mrs Grant has demanded an urgent review of sub-contracted jobs from the Scottish Government.
Mrs Grant said “The increase in the living wage is great news. It now represents a wage boost of over £2,500 to a minimum wage worker. This would make a huge difference to hard working people the Highlands and Islands facing a cost of living crisis.
“I want to see the living wage extended to workers on public contracts across the region and across Scotland. The living wage will help us build a moral economy and it is not right that agencies can currently exploit the low pay loophole to deny people a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work.
“Better wages are good for workers, communities and the economy across the Highlands and Islands and the Scottish Government should join my colleagues and I in Scottish Labour in fighting to deliver it for more workers.”
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