Energy Firm In 'Biggest' Living Wage Deal

1 December 2014, 07:13 | Updated: 1 December 2014, 07:15

Energy firm SSE has just awarded Scotland's largest ever Living Wage contract in a deal worth £460 million.

The work has gone to engineering firm ABB Limited as part of the project to install a vital new underwater power cable which will help boost the supply of renewable electricity.

The contract, part of the Cable to Moray transmission project, will support some 600 jobs, with all staff and contractors to be paid at least the Living Wage - which is currently £7.65 an hour but is due to rise to £7.85 in April.

Bosses at SSE announced the deal ahead of a visit by new First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to the company's Glasgow offices, where she is expected to say that paying the Living Wage is one way companies can help deliver her vision of a fairer and more prosperous Scotland.

Chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said: "Just over a year ago SSE became the first energy company to be a Living Wage employer and remains the only energy supplier to do so.

"SSE is proud to play its part when it comes to being a responsible business and one which helps build a fairer and more prosperous Scotland. The new Caithness to Moray contract will make sure hundreds of workers on site will get a fair day's pay for a fair day's work and reflects our commitment to being a responsible employer.

"It is one of several actions SSE is taking to make a difference.''

Campaigners welcomed the announcement, with Peter Kelly, director of The Poverty Alliance, saying it demonstrated that "even in large scale contracts it is possible to pay workers the Living Wage''.

Mr Kelly added: Scottish businesses can all play their part in building a fairer and more prosperous society and paying the Living Wage is one way to do that.

"The Living Wage in Scotland is now gaining genuine momentum with employers - the number of employers paying it here has tripled from 20 to 70 since April. We recognise the support for the campaign from accredited employers like SSE and the Scottish Government.''

Ms Sturgeon will address around 70 representatives from the business community at SSE's offices today.

The First Minister will say: "We welcome SSE's announcement that all who work on the Caithness-Moray subsea cable will be paid the living wage.

"This is exactly the kind of economy we want to build: one where the benefits of growth are shared widely and fairly.''