Ahead of the launch of Richard Leonard’s Workers’ Manifesto this week, the Scottish Labour leadership contender announces the first of his key policies to ensure better pay, terms & conditions and quality jobs for workers - ensuring that the Scottish Government leads by example.
Under a Richard Leonard leadership, the Scottish Government would only award public contracts to those who take corporate social responsibility seriously. These expectations are that organisations would not operate on zero-hour contracts; are not blacklisters; create quality apprenticeship; are working to tackle occupational segregation; recognise trade unions; assess the pay ratios of the average worker and senior management; are fair tax mark accredited and pay at least the real living wage.
On announcing this policy, which will go to the heart of rebalancing a system where the richest one per-cent own more personal wealth than the whole of the bottom fifty per cent, Richard Leonard said:
“Under my leadership we would have a values-led public procurement strategy that only contracts organisations that meet our demands with respect to corporate social responsibility.
“Not a single public pound should be spent by the Scottish Government on a contractor that doesn’t care about their workers and delivers anything less than the best for the communities they serve.
"This is no time to tinker around the edges. We cannot simply hope that change will come through a voluntary business pledge; we must transform the system that creates poverty and inequality.
“The Scottish Government is currently failing to make the most of their £11 billion of purchasing power. I shall constantly challenge the SNP to make full use of procurement to improve workers’ pay and conditions.”
This move would end the culture of public sector contractors seeing corporate social responsibility as a simple tick box exercise and promote a more responsible business culture throughout the country. Leading by example, Scottish Government would use its procurement power to drive up wages, incentivise investment in quality jobs and apprenticeships as well as plan for real change to ‘business as usual.’