In Parliament today, Labour Leadership contender Richard Leonard announces the news that cleaners and catering staff within Diageo who are contracted to Sodexo are to receive the Living Wage.
This real change for workers follows a campaign which saw Richard Leonard holding senior managers to account from both companies earlier this year - with detailed questioning as to how their public commitments to a living wage weren’t detectable in employees’ pay packets.
Mr Leonard questioned representatives from both companies at the Scottish Parliament’s Economy and Fair Work Committee. Both were quick to say that they supported the principle of a living wage but when Richard Leonard questioned them on whether the workforce on some of their major contracts were receiving a living wage in respect to closing the gender pay gap, the company representatives gave evasive answers.
Scottish Labour leadership candidate, Richard Leonard said:
“We can’t tackle poverty without standing up to big businesses who prioritise profits over people. That’s why I challenged them in parliament – and we need to use all of the levers of Government to get people a better deal from low wage employers.
I’m arguing that not a penny of the £10 billion pounds a year the Scottish Government spends on buying goods and services goes to low wage or non-union companies. With strong leadership we can provide protection for workers in the face of exploitative employers.”
Today, Richard Leonard speaking in Parliament shared his experience fighting to close the gender pay gap for workers and how the living wage is part of the solution to tackling in work poverty - saying, "To tackle low pay and in work poverty is also to tackle the Gender Pay Gap. And that’s why the Living Wage is a political priority."
Monica Lennon MSP said:
“No one can be in any doubt of Richard Leonard’s commitment to getting a living wage for workers or taking on tough fights. Richard’s 30 years of experience in the Scottish Labour Party and as a trade unionist has shown he has the consistency and credibility to be a principled and progressive leader of the Scottish Labour Party. “