COMPANIES investing in Dundee’s £1 billion Waterfront are being told to pay their entire workforces the living wage.
City chiefs said today that Dundee was leading the way across Scotland in ensuring local folk are given the best possible rates of pay.
Developers signing contracts for Waterfront plots will be made to agree that they will pay their workforce the new £7.20 per hour rate — for folk aged over 25 or not in a first-year apprenticeship.
In addition they’ll have to ensure that a “significant percentage” of the people they employ are locals.
It’s part of three community benefit agreements that are being stipulated for companies that want to invest in the vacant Waterfront sites — many of which are almost ready to be built on.
The first agreement centres on construction, with building firms told to provide equal opportunities for local subcontractors, and deliver minimum targets for apprenticeships and work experience opportunities.
The second stipulates that the living wage should be paid to employees on the site.
The third, which relates to the employers who will occupy the plots, asks for a minimum number of jobs for local people and/or guaranteed interviews for local people who have undertaken appropriate pre-employment training.
The companies will have to agree to these in binding contracts as a condition of buying or leasing sites from Dundee City Council.
The local authority’s leader Ken Guild believes it’ll set a precedent for other major redevelopments across the country.
He added: “A significant percentage of the workforce will be local employees and now that the most complex part of the development is coming to completion, we will see a large number of local personnel being involved in the project.
“We held an open day for local companies to bid for contracts and I can confirm that there will be a significant number of local employees on the sites.
“I think that it is a really good thing for the employment situation in Dundee.
“The living wage is something that we are pushing for as a council — we have been paying our employees the living wage.
“We have also been pushing for any contracts that the council puts out for tender to support living wage too. I think that Dundee is leading the field when it comes to paying people the living wage and hopefully will set a precedent for others to follow.”
Tim Allan, chairman of the Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce, insisted the move would pay dividends for people living and working in the city.
He said: “Speaking as a city developer myself, I completely welcome it.
“The campaign for the living wage is great — while it costs more and can be difficult for smaller businesses, the idea that people aren’t paid the living wage has got to be sent to the bin.
“I welcome it at the Waterfront and the council has the ability to make a strong statement.
“It will be difficult but if the council is working with developers and entering agreements with them to develop these plots then it is something they can say they have to do.”
Mr Allan said that he also welcomed there being more jobs for local people.
He added: “The idea of having a quota of local people employed at these sites is also something that I welcome.
“It is all about the community and the taxpayers — if we are spending their money on the project then it would be nice to see it spent in a way that can benefit local people.”