Glasgow City Council is yet again leading the way by putting the Living Wage and procurement front and centre of the battle for social justice, writes Glasgow City Council Leader Gordon Matheson.
The mission to deliver a just and equal society is the calling that brought us into Labour politics. It’s a measure of a decent and progressive society that work should pay, but we live in a time when the majority of households living below the poverty line are working households. I find that offensive.
An honest day’s labour may earn you respect, but I firmly believe that it should also allow you to adequately provide for your family and loved ones. And that is why, as long as I am Leader, Glasgow City Council is signed up to pay our staff the living wage and to actively encourage other employers to pay it to their staff.
It’s why, from 1st April 2015, despite disproportionate reductions to the city’s budget year on year, I am announcing that I will increase the Glasgow Living Wage to £7.85 an hour.
But I am also restless to do more, go further and grasp the nettle that the Scottish Government refused to grab in their recent procurement legislation.
Put simply, if our mission is social justice and lifting our fellow citizens out of poverty; why should we spend public money supporting low pay employers?
It’s morally wrong, it’s bad economics and it’s at odds with the principles and values that I and the Labour movement hold dearly.
So Glasgow City Council will once again lead the charge when it comes to the Living Wage by putting it at the heart of our procurement policy.
Our policy will now further reward those employers that can demonstrate real community benefits, that don’t employ staff on exploitative zero hours contracts, and that don’t have a track record of blacklisting trade union members.
We will make sure that if you are in receipt of the public’s money, you provide public benefit and we will work to extend this policy to our City Deal’s major infrastructural projects.
We have had this fight at Holyrood and working people were failed by the SNP’s majority grip and their lack of courage.
I will not make the same mistake or be distracted by naysayers who rallied with gritted teeth against the minimum wage, the NHS and workers rights.
Our movement is at its best when we are bold. Our Labour values demand that we take radical action to right social wrongs and Glasgow’s ambition and people expect nothing less.