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Scottish Council Workers Would See Rise to 'Living Wage'
The Courier

November 2, 2010
View the Original Article


Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray used last weekend's party conference in Oban to unveil plans to pay all public sector workers in Scotland at least £7.15 an hour.

It emerged on Monday that more than 500 council workers in Dundee and nearly 1700 in Fife would benefit from such a change.

The news came as Labour faced increasing calls to explain how they would pay for their pledges.

A spokesman for Fife Council said it employed 1681 people on less than £7.15 an hour.

They would all see a wage increase if the plan was implemented by local authorities, who set their own pay scales.

Meanwhile, Dundee West End councillor Richard McCready revealed 542 city council staff would benefit from the plan.

"I am calling for Dundee City Council to pay a living wage to all its employees," said Mr McCready, who is standing as the Labour candidate for Dundee City West at next year's Holyrood elections.

"These are difficult financial times but it is important that work pays and that it is a route out of poverty."

Dundee West SNP MSP Joe FitzPatrick said the SNP also supports a living wage but warned Labour's proposals were uncosted.

Labour "playing catch-up"

He said, "The SNP in government has acted on the living wage. Labour are playing catch-up.

"The SNP has already ensured all Scottish Government employees receive the living wage and will extend this to all NHS workers and government agencies."

Other policies announced by Labour during the party conference include creating 10,000 jobs for out-of-work teenagers, a teacher recruitment drive, public sector reorganisation and the setting up of a national care service.

Mr FitzPatrick said, "In these tight financial times it is simply irresponsible to set out spending pledges and promises without the slightest attempt to show the public how they would be paid for.

"Not content with damaging the UK's finances, it seems Labour now want to damage the finances of Scotland and Scottish households."

But Mr Gray insisted Labour's manifesto pledges would be fully budgeted and "credible."

He said, "I am determined not to make the same mistake as Alex Salmond.

"He promised a false prospectus he could not afford and could not implement."

The Courier asked for details of staff at Perth and Kinross and Angus councils earning less than £7.15 an hour, but the information was not immediately available.

However, a spokesman for Perth and Kinross said the "vast majority" of its workforce was earning more than the living wage.