The Living Wage

Lesley Brennan

10 November 2014

There are 13,000 workers in Dundee – around 1 on 6 – who are paid less than the Living Wage , according to new research for KPMG.

As prices such as energy continue to soar, and families with members in work struggle to meet the cost of these essentials, the Living Wage takes on a greater significance in the campaign to make work pay.

The Living Wage is a calculation of the hourly rate pay that indicates a basic level in the cost of living. (the 2015 rate is £7.85p)

So far more than 1,000 companies across the UK have signed up as officially- recognised “living wage” employers which carries the status of good standards of employment practice.

At the moment, this number of companies pledging themselves to the Living Wage is very small and there needs to be a much higher commitment to it.


Dundee City Council is a Living Wage employer.


It has taken this positive step and in doing so has shown other employers locally that the council supports the principles of the Living Wage and its responsibility towards its staff in doing so.



The Advantages of the Living Wage to the employer are well- demonstrated greater productivity, more satisfied employees, and the recruitment and retention of staff made easier.


Employees benefit from higher wages with the means to buy more and save more as do local suppliers of goods and services.

Looking at the broader picture, in-work poverty reflects the extent of income inequality and the decline in living standards

These have resulted from the squeeze on wage levels while profits have taken an increased share of national income.

As Frances O’ Grady, TUC General Secretary has explained , 

“British workers are experiencing the longest fall in real wages since the 1870s. “Prices have been rising faster than earnings since 2010.

“People in work are thousands of pounds a year worse off as a result.

“Whatever statistic is seized on to tell us the recovery has begun, this does not feel like an economic recovery. “

And she added, “ The share of national income paid out as wages has been falling for three decades”

Christine Lagarde, the Chief Executive of the IMF, has pointed to the advantages of a more equitable redistribution of income :

“Now all of us have a better understanding that a more equal distribution of income allows for more economic stability, more sustained economic growth, and healthier societies.”

Higher wages not only help to reduce poverty, they help to increase social mobility, and the Living Wage is a means towards the better end of increased wages that supports higher living standards

But the Living Wage is more than that.

It is a statement of belief that work should pay and that those who earn low pay are entitled to a  fairer share of the wealth of this country that they help to create.








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