Wood joins Aberdeen employers in defending real living wage

Wood, the global consultancy and engineering company, has been confirmed as a Living Wage Accredited Employer, strengthening Aberdeen’s Living Wage Employer movement.

The company will work with local partners who are developing ambitious plans to make Aberdeen a living wage city. Through the Aberdeen Community Planning Group “Aberdeen Prospers”, partners such as Aberdeen City Council, ACVO and Scottish Enterprise are working with Living Wage Scotland to have the city recognized under the scheme Living Wage Places, to help address local poverty rates.

It is estimated that one in five children in Aberdeen lives in poverty, with a large proportion of them in families where at least one parent works, highlighting the impact of in-work poverty.

Wood’s Living Wage accreditation will see its large UK workforce and regular supply chain workers earn at least the actual living wage of £9.90. The real living wage rate is calculated each year independently to reflect the amount workers and their families need to cover their daily needs.

The new real living wage rate of £9.90 was announced on the 15thand November as part of Living Wage Week and is significantly above statutory minimum wage rates in the UK, including the National Living Wage – which is due to rise to £9.50 per hour in April.

Wood’s Living Wage commitment means there are now 53 Living Wage Accredited Employers based in Aberdeen, of which Wood is the largest private sector employer.

Recent research from the Smith Institute found that if just 25% of low-income people saw their wages rise to the actual living wage, it could deliver a £3million boost to Aberdeen’s local economy through a increase in consumer spending.

Claire Yule, president of compensation and mobility at Wood, said: “Wood is committed to helping create a more resilient, sustainable and livable world. This includes supporting the communities around us and improving lives. We are delighted to announce that we have been accredited as a Real Living Wage Employer. People are at the heart of what we do, and it’s part of our commitment to our employees and those who work within our supply chain.

Working together is key and we fully support plans to make Aberdeen a city where the wages are real. When we work together, we can achieve things that might not have been possible alone. We look forward to working with partners to help reduce poverty and improve the quality of life in Aberdeen and beyond. We hope other organizations across the UK will join us in supporting this vital movement.

Aberdeen City Council Leader, Councilor Jenny Laing, Chair of the Aberdeen Community Planning Board, said: “Living Wage Week provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of paying the real living wage and highlights how employers can play their part to help tackle poverty and related issues in the city.

“The announcement that Wood, an international consultancy and engineering firm, is now an Accredited Living Wage Employer is great news and I am delighted that they have joined the growing movement of Aberdeen Living Wage Employers. .

“As one of the region’s largest employers, it is important that Aberdeen City Council lead by example and meet the needs of our employees. By encouraging the private and public sectors to follow suit, we can join forces to reduce working poverty and achieve one of the key priorities of Aberdeen’s Local Outcomes Improvement Plan (LOIP). By having this common aspiration, the private and public sectors can work together to achieve true Living Wage City status by 2026 and make Aberdeen a city where everyone can thrive.

Christine McCaig, Living Wage Projects Coordinator at the Poverty Alliance said: “We are delighted that Wood has become a Living Wage Accredited Employer. They join a growing movement of more than 2,400 employers in Scotland who together want to ensure workers have what they need to thrive.

The impact of real living wage in the fight against in-work poverty is reinforced when major employers and anchor institutions show leadership and become accredited for living wage. We hope to see more employers follow this example, to realize the vision of making Aberdeen a living wage city.

Michael A. Bynum