Fair work test for those who want government support

Living wage web

The Scottish Government has said organisations that want funding or public sector contracts must pay their workers fairly

9th October 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Organisations that receive government funding are set to face a new fair work test.

Nicola Sturgeon unveiled the Fair Work First policy, which is aimed at ensuring organisations comply with key criteria on the living wage, gender pay and zero hours contracts in order to secure grants and public sector contracts from the Scottish Government, this afternoon (Tuesday 9 October).

Speaking at the SNP conference, the First Minister said that she wanted to use the powers that parliament has to build on Scotland having a higher proportion of employees paid the living wage than other UK nations.

“We will adopt a new default position. Fair Work First,” she said. “By the end of this parliament, we will extend fair work criteria to as many funding streams and business support grants as we can. And, we will extend the range of Scottish Government and public sector contracts that fair work criteria apply to.

“Fair Work First means investment in skills and training, no exploitative zero hours contracts, action on gender pay, and genuine workforce engagement, including with trade unions. And, of course, payment of the Living Wage.

“We may not yet have the constitutional power to make fair work a legal requirement – but we do have the financial power of government to make it a practical reality.”

Anna Fowlie, chief executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), said it is essential that the Scottish Government uses all the drivers at their disposal to promote fair work.

She said: “The third sector is strongly supportive of the fair work agenda and employers in the sector want to embrace fair work, but are often prevented by short-term, project-based funding models and cumbersome, task-focused procurement practices.

“SCVO has long advocated that organisations who want government support or deliver services must offer proper contracts, end zero hours contracts, pay the living wage and tackle gender-based inequality to help Scotland create a more inclusive society in which everyone can share the benefits of economic growth.

“We hope the First Minister will make these commitments a reality in short order and also ensure that procurement processes, accreditation schemes and business pledges are only open to those who want to make a meaningful contribution to the fair work agenda and creating a more equal society.”