Borders businesses come together to celebrate Living Wage week

Business breakfast 1

Published: Wednesday, 17th November 2021

Local businesses have come together to share their positive experiences of being Living Wage employers and to celebrate national Living Wage week (15-19 November)

Living wage business breakfast 

We hosted a business breakfast today (Wednesday 17 November) to mark the week of awareness by bringing together local organisations to discuss the benefits of the Living Wage and hear about the experiences of employers and employees who are already paying and receiving it.

Representatives from Scottish Government, Borders College, South of Scotland Enterprise, Eildon Housing Association and NHS Borders amongst others were present to discuss the importance of the movement.

As part of the event, Richard Lochhead MSP, Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work, gave an address via video link to discuss the importance of fair pay for employees, highlight the many social and economic benefits derived from earning the Living Wage and to congratulate the businesses attending for their efforts in supporting the initiative.

Living wage rate increased 

Earlier this week, the Living Wage Foundation announced an increase to the ‘real Living Wage’ rate, with employees now entitled to £9.90 per hour.

As the latest Borders organisation to become an accredited Living Wage Employer, Galashiels based Tweedbank Early Learners will be among those adopting the voluntary pay rate.

The employer is one of many small Borders businesses to recently become a Living Wage employer.

Make Eildon a Living Wage Place

Earlier this year an alliance of prominent employers based in the Eildon locality announced their ambitious plans to “Make Eildon a Living Wage Place”.

An ambitious action plan sets out their aims to double the number of accredited Living Wage employers in the Eildon area within the first year and support and celebrate businesses across the wider Borders area who join the movement.

These employers include:

  • ourselves
  • NHS Borders
  • Eildon Housing Association
  • South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE)
  • Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce
  • WSZ Joiners

Currently more than 9k workers are covered by a Living Wage commitment in the Eildon locality.

Robin Tatler, Executive Member for Community Development and Localities and Chair of the Scottish Borders Living Wage Group

“As one of the major employers in the Borders area, Scottish Borders Council is extremely proud to be an accredited Living Wage employer.

“The aim of the Scottish Borders Living Wage Group is to encourage every employer in the Borders to pay the Living Wage. The best way for us to do that is to set an example for other employers and promote the many benefits of offering a fair day’s pay for the work staff do.

“Today’s business breakfast has been a fantastic opportunity to bring together like-minded organisations to share their positive experiences of becoming accredited Living Wage employers.”

Annmarie Robertson, Manager at Tweedbank Early Learners

“As a charity, of course we need to ensure our sustainability and be able to continue investing in our quality of provision for the families using our service.

“However, I believe that maintaining a strong relationship with employees is key to the success of any organisation and paying our dedicated staff the wages they deserve – the real Living Wage – gives added benefits such as increased staff morale and helps in the recruitment and retention of staff.

“Using the real Living Wage as the basis for our salary structure ensures fairness and equality within our organisation. Staff are also reassured that their wages will be reviewed annually and increased in line with the real Living Wage”

Councillor Andy Anderson, Chair of the Eildon Living Wage Action Group

“It’s fantastic to welcome Tweedbank Early Learners to our Living Wage network this Living Wage Week. Paying the real Living Wage makes a huge difference as it helps tackle in-work poverty, it allows workers to better provide for their families and to feel valued by their employers.  

“Every employer in the Eildon area can help tackle low pay and the Eildon Living Wage Action Group is available to help and guide local employers through any challenges they might face in committing to the real Living Wage.”

Christine McCaig, Projects Coordinator at Living Wage Scotland

“We are delighted to welcome Tweedbank Early Learners to the Living Wage movement, strengthening the local activity in Eildon.

“We are a movement of over 2300 Scottish employers who together want to go further than the government minimum. Our growing network in Eildon includes a range of employers including NHS Borders, WSZ Joiners and Eildon Housing Association.

“Employers like Tweedbank Early Learners recognise the importance of valuing staff with a wage that reflects living costs, and we hope to see many more employers following their example.”