Dundee firms in industries traditionally associated with low pay have been hailed for paying their staff the real living wage – just weeks after plans to make the city a leader in fair pay took off.
Vegan cafe Marwick’s, cleaning business Star Clean and mental health charity Feeling Strong have been recognised by Living Wage Scotland after agreeing to pay their workers £9 an hour.
Dubbed the “true” living wage, the payment is calculated by the Resolution Foundation.
It argues the UK Government-set living wage of £7.83 is not enough.
The companies are the first to be accredited following the launch of the Living Wage Places scheme in Dundee – although Marwick’s began its application earlier this year.
Lynn Anderson, of Living Wage Scotland, said the launch had encouraged a “spike” in inquiries.
Marwick’s staff Eilidh Morris, 28, and Steph Baker, 22, say the pay rise will make a “huge” difference.
Steph said: “It’s a huge deal for me because it means I don’t have to worry about my bills and can afford to live a little.”
Eilidh added: “I’ve worked nightshifts and in supermarkets but have left because you don’t feel valued.
“But Marwick’s has been a really lovely employer.”
Both Marwick’s and Star Clean operate in traditionally low-paying sectors – hospitality and cleaning.
Star Clean boss Cheryle Sexton said being accredited shows it is possible for companies in these fields to pay staff well.
She said: “In Dundee, and across the UK, there is a huge problem of people stuck in a state of working poverty.
“I believe if small businesses come together and join, a real difference can be made.”
Brook Marshall, of the Feeling Strong mental health charity, said: “Even small employers and start-ups like ourselves have a social responsibility to pay their staff fairly.”
Dundee City Council leader John Alexander said: “There are huge benefits to paying the real living wage and the significance of this pay to workers cannot be overstated.”