Scottish Sea Farms pays above real Living Wage to help hardest hit

Processing operatives at Scottish Sea Farms’ South Shian facility. Photograph: Scottish Sea Farms.

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Scottish Sea Farms, now the country’s second largest producer of farmed salmon, has committed to paying above the real Living Wage in a bid to help those of its employees and their families hit hardest by the soaring cost of living.

Consistently higher than the Government minimum wage, which is known as the National Living Wage, the real Living Wage is independently calculated each year based on what people need to live on, helping accredited employers ensure that they pay a fair wage that meets the cost of living.It is also recalculated annually to keep up with rising costs, with the real Living Wage currently set at £9.90 compared with the National Living Wage of £9.50 for over 23s.

However, as part of its annual April pay review, Scottish Sea Farms – a real Living Wage accredited employer for almost five years now – has committed to paying a minimum of £10.40 per hour, representing a nine per cent increase year on year for its lower income employees.

It brings the company’s entry level salary to £21,632 before overtime, weekend payments, employer pension contributions and annual bonus.

Scottish Sea Farms 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 per cent, with further increases expected throughout the year. Over the same period, we’ve seen even larger hikes in the price of oxygen (+32 per cent), oil and diesel (+48 per cent), and electricity (+53 per cent). 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.’