The SNP Government will adopt a new default position – termed ‘Fair Work First’ – that will see criteria, including the living wage, extended to more contracts and government support grants.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP announced that by the end of this Parliament, the SNP Government will extend the application of fair work criteria, including:
investment in skills and training
no exploitative zero hours contracts.
action on gender pay.
genuine workforce engagement, including with trade unions, and
payment of the Real Living Wage.
Making the announcement, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“We are committed to fair work. More security, decent pay and a greater voice for workers in the companies whose wealth they help to create.
“Fair work is good for everyone. It drives innovation and productivity. Which makes for better businesses and higher profits.
“That’s why we will adopt a new default position, Fair Work First. By the end of this parliament, we will extend fair work criteria to as many funding streams and business support grants as we can.
“We will also extend the range of Scottish Government and public sector contracts the criteria will apply to, while maximising the benefit of public contracts to small businesses and local supply chains.
“Details will vary depending on the size of companies and the circumstances of different sectors, but Fair Work First means investment in skills and training, no exploitative zero hours contracts, action on gender pay, genuine workforce engagement, including with trade unions, and payment of the Real 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 and we will make that count.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“The SNP recognises how critical it is that economic growth improves people’s wellbeing, which means employment opportunities should be fair, sustainable and inclusive.
“That’s why earlier this year, the SNP Government invested a further £250,000 into the Trade Union Fair Work and Modernisation Fund, to promote better working practices and allocated £100,000 towards the STUC’s Fair Work: Leadership and Equality Programme. Furthermore, in accordance with our 2016 Holyrood Manifesto, a Fair Work Action Plan is due to be published by the end of the year, setting out the next steps to embed fair work practices in Scottish workplaces by 2025.
“Apart from the aforementioned measures, proposals will also include business support grants through Regional Selective Assistance and other large Scottish Enterprise job-related grants, starting with grants offered in 2019-20. The SNP Government is also exploring options to develop support and advice for small, micro and Business Pledge employers to help achieve fair work practices in their businesses including employing disadvantaged groups.
“As long as employment is reserved to the UK Government and as such, workers across North Ayrshire and beyond are dependent on unsympathetic Tory policies, we won’t be able to tackle unfair practices the way we would like to. Nevertheless, I am proud of the creative solutions the SNP Government offers and the progress that has already been made in this regard.”