RETAIL industry representative group the Scottish Grocer’s Federation has expressed concern that politicians and others appear to be intensifying efforts to establish a statutory right to what is known as the living wage.
Last month, the organisation said, first minister Alex Salmond told an audience in Bruges that EU rules are the main obstacle to his government introducing a living wage across Scotland.
The generally accepted amount for a living wage outside London is now £7.65 per hour, says SGF. Nationwide recently became the first major high street brand to sign up to the living wage, promising that all staff and contracted workers would receive no less than £7.65 per hour or £8.80 in London.
The federation has consistently argued against the introduction of the living wage; arguing it would have a negative impact on jobs and investment in the convenience store industry,
Chief executive John Drummond said: “The living wage will simply add to the already considerable cost of doing business and lead to job losses. We know that trading conditions remain extremely challenging and any increase in staff costs will reduce already thin margins even further.
“Politicians must be made to realise that the living wage impacts each industry sector differently. Large financial services companies can afford it easily. Local shops simply can’t absorb the additional costs and will be forced to either cut back on hours or cut back on jobs.