Call for Holyrood chiefs to pay living wage

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HOLYROOD bosses are under pressure to insist that companies who win contracts from the Scottish Parliament should pay the living wage, despite official advice that such a move could breach European rules.

All staff employed directly by the parliament are already paid the living wage, currently £7.20 per hour, but earlier this year the parliament admitted, due to outside contractors, 15 catering staff were paid 5p an hour below the living wage and seven cleaners were paid 35p an hour below the threshold.

Lothians Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale wants contractors to be told in future they must pay the living wage, although advice from the European Commission says public bodies cannot require contractors to pay their employees a living wage as a condition of participating in a tendering exercise.

Ms Dugdale said: “If you have the political will to deliver the living wage you can do it. The great example is the Olympics, where 95 per cent of contracts went to living wage contractors.”

David Stewart, a member of Holyrood’s cross-party corporate body, said: “My own view is we need to test this out when we come to the contract period. I would support doing everything within the law to make sure we are a living wage employer.”