Pictured left to right are Angie MacDonald, Suzanne Macaulay, Alasdair Allan MSP, Kirsty MacDonald, Bellann O'Brien, Christine McKee, Sonja MacLeod

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, today (Monday May 21) presented Volunteer Centre Western Isles with a plaque from the Living Wage Foundation recognising them as the latest employer in the Western Isles to commit to paying the Living Wage.

Their Living Wage commitment will see everyone working at Volunteer Centre Western Isles, regardless of whether they are direct employees or third-party contracted staff; receive a minimum hourly wage of £8.75.

This rate is significantly higher than the statutory minimum for over 25s of £7.83 per hour introduced in April 2017. The real Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually. It is calculated according to the real costs of living.

Alasdair Allan MSP is himself an accredited Living Wage employer - as is Intermedia Services (Stornoway) Ltd which publishes welovestornoway.com - and there are now 13 such employers on the Isles. Alasdair Allan works with the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative to promote the Living Wage.

“I would like to thank Volunteer Centre Western Isles for kindly showing me around today and I warmly congratulate them on leading the way and becoming the latest island-based living wage employer.

“There is a huge amount of benefit to employers who pay the Living Wage. Evidence shows it leads to increased productivity and reduced staff absence and turnover. It also sends a strong signal to customers about fairness, with the majority of Living Wage employers stating it had increased consumer awareness of their organisation’s commitment to be an ethical employer.
“I would encourage all organisations in the islands, regardless of size or sector, to recognise the benefits of paying ensuring all staff receive a fair level of pay.”
Kirsty Macdonald, Joint Manager of Volunteer Centre Western Isles said: “We value our staff, and making this commitment is part of how we reflect this. As a Volunteer Centre, we like to ‘walk our talk’ in positive, practical ways. We fully endorse the ethos of the Living Wage and would encourage other third sector organisations to do so too.”
Clive Rowlands, chair of the Board of Trustees of the VCWI added:“The members of the VCWI Board fully support and endorse the work that has been undertaken within  our organisation leading to the achievement of the Living Wage.”
Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance said:“The real Living Wage is one of the key tools at our disposal to help make an impact on levels of in-work poverty in Scotland. There is a strong business case for paying the Living Wage; but crucially allows those in work to become more included in society, better provide for their families, and feel that their value and hard work is recognised by their employer.
“We are delighted to congratulate Volunteer Centre Western Isles on becoming a Living Wage employer, joining the growing movement of over 900 companies in Scotland who want to go further than the government minimum and recognise that Living Wage accreditation is the mark of a responsible employer. I hope more organisations follow their lead by becoming accredited”.