Milestone as 1000th company agrees to pay living wage
Porridge makers Stoats has agreed to pay employees the living wage of £8.45.
Scotland's 1000th accredited living wage employer has been revealed by the First Minister.
Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement on a visit to Edinburgh-based porridge company Stoats, the latest employer to sign up to the voluntary wage of £8.45.
The Scottish Government has funded the Poverty Alliance to deliver the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative, delivered in partnership with the Living Wage Foundation, since 2014.
Sturgeon said: "I am delighted that Scotland has reached this landmark during Living Wage Week and I congratulate Stoats on their commitment to pay workers a fair, living wage.
"Through the Scottish Living Wage accreditation initiative, we are helping ensure people's basic pay meets the cost of living."
She added: "As well as the benefits to workers, it also makes sense to employers.
"Evidence shows paying the Real Living Wage leads to increased productivity, better morale and lower sickness absence.
"It also demonstrates to the world that the organisation is committed to treating its workforce well."
Tony Stone, managing director of Stoats, spoke of his pride at signing up to the initiative.
He said: "Our staff are absolutely integral to our brand. We appreciate the hard work our team commits to produce 38,000 porridge oat bars by hand daily, consistently delivering quality products for our customers.
"We are very proud to be a Living Wage employer and to receive this recognition from the First Minister on our commitment to our workforce."
Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, hailed the 1000th accreditation as a significant milestone.
He said: "What an achievement for the movement for a Living Wage in Scotland.
"When the accreditation initiative was launched in 2014 there were only 20 employers signed up. To reach 1000 in a little over three years is remarkable."
He added: "Across Scotland, budgets are under pressure from rising prices.
"In this context the decision of companies like Stoats to pay the voluntary living wage is important.
"They know it's critical for the well-being of their team and the success of their company. We hope more companies follow their example."