Becoming a fair work nation

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Closes 23 Dec 2021

Ministerial Foreword

As Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work, I am pleased to launch this public consultation on Scotland becoming a Fair Work Nation.

The Scottish Government’s vision, shared with the Fair Work Convention, is that by 2025, people in Scotland will have a world-leading working life where Fair Work drives success, wellbeing and prosperity for individuals, businesses, organisations and society.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and EU exit mean it is the right time to reassess the challenges, barriers, and actions to achieving our vision. In this regard, our collective response to both EU Exit and the pandemic has highlighted the importance of our continued partnership working across government and with all our stakeholders.

While the impacts of the pandemic continue to be felt, we must continue to focus on the particular inequalities that continue to blight our society and our workplaces – eradicating poverty and discrimination, and ensuring opportunity is never limited by economic or social circumstance. We are determined that the Scotland that emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic is more progressive, more inclusive and more equal, and that people and communities feel valued, included and empowered.

As we rebuild, we are pushing forward with an ambitious 10 year agenda of economic transformation to help seize and realise Scotland’s potential and we will continue to work towards an economy with Fair Work at its heart.

Working with our agencies, with unions, businesses and the third sector, through our labour market action plans on Fair Work, Gender Pay Gap, Disability Employment, and Race Recruitment and Retention, significant progress has been made to advance Fair Work.

  • Scotland has proportionately five times as many accredited Living Wage employers than in the rest of the UK
  • Gender pay gap figures are currently the lowest on record
  • The Scottish Government has attached Fair Work First criteria to over £2.4 billion of public funding since 2019
  • Fair Work remains central in our landmark agreement with the Scottish Green Party. Through this agreement we will strengthen our conditionality approach, to make paying at least the real Living Wage and providing appropriate channels for effective voice, such as trade union recognition, a requirement of public sector grants.

The next few years are critical in ensuring we make the progress needed to achieve this vision and meet the changing needs of our economy and workers. We are on a journey to becoming a Fair Work Nation and we can only get this right with your support and collaboration. Through this consultation, you are invited to share views on the action you think needs to be taken to achieve our vision, and who needs to lead and support that action, considering the challenges and opportunities in your sector and your workplace.

We are also seeking your views on what additional levers and measures should be used to make Scotland a Fair Work Nation, and how we ensure Fair Work continues to evolve to not only meet our social and economic ambitions, but also to respond to an evolving labour market. The information we receive through this consultation will be used to update our labour market action plans in early 2022.

Richard Lochhead MSP

Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work

October 2021