Scottish Sea Farms makes ‘Living Wage’ commitment
One of Scotland’s biggest salmon farmers has committed to help its employees cope with the cost of living crisis – by paying above the real Living Wage.
Following its annual pay review this month, Scottish Sea Farms – now the country’s second largest producer of farmed salmon – said it will now pay a minimum hourly rate of £10.40. The move represents a pay increase of 9%, year on year, for the company’s lowest paid employees.
The “real Living Wage” is independently calculated each year based on what households need to live on. It is consistently higher than the UK Government’s minimum wage, which is known as the National Living Wage.
The real Living Wage is recalculated annually. It is currently set at £9.90, while the National Living Wage is currently £9.50 for those over the age of 23.
The decision by Scottish Sea Farms brings the company’s entry level salary to £21,632 before overtime, weekend payments, employer pension contributions and annual bonus.
Managing Director Jim Gallagher said: “Across each area of our business, costs are rising at a rate and to a level never seen before. In the first four months of this year alone, the cost of fish feed – one of our largest overheads – has risen by 29%, with further increases expected throughout the year. Over the same period, we’ve seen even larger hikes in the price of oxygen (32%), oil and diesel (48%), and electricity (53%), all of which are essential to the smooth running of our operations.
“Of course, household incomes are under increasing pressure too due to the rising price of food, fuel and energy, amongst other essentials. As an employer, it presents a very real challenge: how best to help employees withstand the worst of the hopefully short-lived inflationary hikes, whilst also ensuring any increases in pay rates are affordable longer-term.
“By paying the higher rate of £10.40 per hour, we hope to help those on lower incomes and their families who are being hardest hit by the deepening cost of living crisis.”
This voluntary commitment, effective from 1 April 2022, is the latest in a series of employee benefits introduced by the salmon grower, including enhanced maternity and paternity packages for all employees with one or more years’ service, discounted child-care places, and a new health and wellbeing app.