Two new Fair Work resources are now available to support the adoption of fair working practices in Scotland. The Fair Work Convention welcomes both the publication of The Scottish Government’s Fair Work First Guidance and the launch of Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise Fair Work Assessment Tool for employers.
In this years’ Programme for Government, the First Minister announced that the Government would: ‘Work with trade unions and employers to pioneer new ways of embedding fair work practices in all workplaces’. The Convention views the publication of Fair Work First Guidance as a crucial step in making this a reality and will monitor the ongoing impact of the Fair Work First approach.
In our recently published Fair Work in Scotland report we recognised that embedding high standards through conditionality is crucial and that high standards must be incentivised if they are to be realised across the economy. Through the Fair Work First Guidance the Scottish Government is asking employers to adopt fair working practices, specifically:
- appropriate channels for effective voice, such as trade union recognition;
- investment in workforce development;
- no inappropriate use of zero hours contracts;
- action to tackle the gender pay gap and create a more diverse and inclusive workplace; and
- payment of the real Living Wage.
The Fair Work First Guidance also introduces, for the first time, the concept of verification through unions, or if they are not present, workplace representatives. This recognises the core principle of fair work – practice which is built on strong partnerships between employers and workers has the best outcomes. It is crucial that both employers and unions engage constructively with conditionality measures, and the Convention will offer support to achieve this, recognising the benefits to all if fair work is realised.
As the Scottish Government sets out its budget plans for the year ahead, against the ever-present backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is right that we strive to place fair work at the heart of tackling the challenges we face. The Fair Work Convention’s expectation is that the Scottish Government and all public bodies use their financial power to incentivise fair work across Scotland. The Fair Work First Guidance is the first step in making this a reality.
Fair Work is good for business and workers. It is proven to have a positive impact on performance and productivity, facilitates effective change and enables innovation. The Fair Work Employers tool will help businesses to assess their policies and practices against the five fair work dimensions. This together with our Fair Work Self-Assessment tool are very useful resources in helping both employers and employees assess where they are on their fair work journey and make practical changes which embed fair work in their workplace.
There remains much to do if we are to achieve our collective vision that, by 2025, people in Scotland will have a world-leading working life where fair work drives success, wellbeing and prosperity for everyone. The Convention welcomes the Fair Work First Guidance and Employers Fair Work tool and hopes these can be drivers for positive change. We will continue to work closely with Scottish Government, employers, unions, public bodies and civil society organisations to help ensure that fair work shapes our workplaces and our shared future.