Entirely irrelevant Living Wage contract signed

This will no doubt be hailed as a great victory:

Power firm SSE has awarded what is thought to be Scotland’s largest living wage contract.

Hurrah! Hurrah! etc. So, the people in the phone cubicles are going to be well paid are they? The cleaners?

Ah, no, it’s going to be already highly paid engineers and contract workers who are:

The £460m contract, awarded by SSE networks business SHE Transmission, will apply to a new subsea electricity link being built by engineers ABB Ltd.

SSE said the contract for part of the Caithness to Moray Transmission Project would support at least 600 jobs.

All staff and contractors will be paid at least the living wage of £7.65 per hour, and £7.85 from April next year.

Anybody who thinks that workers on a subsea cable project are going to be affected by a minimum wage of £7.65 is mad, entirely mad. It’s difficult to be entirely categorical about this (they might have a person on staff to make the tea for example) but the probability of this changing the wages to be paid in any manner whatsoever are around and about zero.

This is a PR clause in the project contract, nothing else.

14 thoughts on “Entirely irrelevant Living Wage contract signed”

  1. Just as a note, they will probably have a number of admin staff, possibly temps, who would be affected by this, as well as the canteen staff and the cleaners.

    It is hardly a great victory for “the Poverty Alliance”, however.

  2. I think they already do it for their employees. They were advertising they were a lw employer recently. This is an extra 600 jobs that noe come under the corporate policy. im wondering what the PR value is. Genuinely interested what the theory is.

  3. bloke (not) in spain

    Do companies still employ canteen staff? How quaint! I haven’t worked in industry since the 70s & even then catering, cleaning etc were contracted out to specialist companies

  4. Easy PR if they are already doing it naturally, though it does still pander to the Trots and gives them undue encouragement.

    My local council recently rejected a motion to pay their staff the ‘living wage’, much to the faux indignation and wailing of the leftists in the gallery (though, to be fair, some of them seemed so poor they could not afford shampoo or deodorant).

    The leader of the council revealed later that to pay staff the LW would have resulted in a pay cut as the lowest paid was already earning 10p/hr more.

  5. I think this sort of thing is a good ‘sell’ sign for SSE shares. The company seem to be sucking up hard to the SNP and its socialist ideas, which doesn’t bode well for profits in the long run.

  6. OK so – fair tax mark, Living wage… they already had a greenish tinge due to the hydro assets.. this can be constructed into “good” PR.. but what “good” does it do the company.. Does it make it less vulnerable to windfall taxes, more attractive for government contracts? or does it give them an advantage in the retail market in terms of consumer preferrence?

  7. Thanks Anoneumouse, I had a quick glance at that advert from SSE about the fair tax mark in a mag and had planned on looking it up but didn’t get round to it.

  8. I wonder how many employees will see their wage fall to the living wage. Now that they have a floor, I would guess kind of like minimum wage; would have been paid £8.45 an hour but can now get away with living wage.

  9. Do companies still employ canteen staff? How quaint! I haven’t worked in industry since the 70s & even then catering, cleaning etc were contracted out to specialist companies

    Quite. Even in our little hotbed of communism in La Defense, Eurest does our catering. And if it isn’t Eurest, it’s Sodexo.

  10. As Tim points out its meaningless in contract terms. The difference between NMW and LW is about £1.50 including employers NIC. Assuming it affects as many as as 10% of the 600 jobs they claim to be creating, and I’ll bet that figures inflated for PR purposes, For a 40 hour week on a two year contract that’s about £375k. Allowing for extra for people further up the pay scale to maintain differentials lets say £500k on a £460m project. A rounding error in all the guestimates taken in the bidding process.

    Anyway, even if it was significant who eventually pays? Exactly. Then we get headlines along the lines of LW campaigners complain of increased energy costs.

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