Scottish Sea Farms commits to paying fair wages

Published on
April 22, 2022
Processing operatives at Scottish Sea Farms’ South Shian packing facility.

Salmon producer Scottish Sea Farms has voluntarily committed to paying above the “real living wage.” 

Consistently higher than the U.K. government’s 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, and is currently set at GBP 9.90 (USD 12.73, EUR 11.79) per hour, compared with the National Living Wage of GBP 9.50 (USD 12.22, EUR 11.32) for over 23s.

As part of its annual April pay review, Scottish Sea Farms – a real living wage-accredited employer for almost five years – has committed to paying a minimum GBP 10.40 (USD 13.38, EUR 12.39) per hour, representing a 9 percent increase year-on-year for its lower income employees. This raises the company’s entry level salary to GBP 21,632 (USD 27,837, EUR 25,765) before overtime, weekend payments, employer pension contributions, and annual bonuses.

In a press release, the company said it was making the move to help those of its employees and their families that are being hit hardest by the soaring cost of living in the U.K.

Scottish Sea Farms Managing Director Jim Gallagher said costs are rising at a rate and to a level never seen before across each area of the company’s business. In the first four months of this year alone, the cost of fish feed – one of its largest overheads – has risen by 29 percent, with further increases expected throughout the year. Over the same period, it has seen even larger hikes in the price of oxygen (up 32 percent), oil and diesel (up 48 percent), and electricity (up 53 percent).

“Of course, household incomes are under increasing pressure too due to the rising price of food, fuel, and energy, among 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,” he said. “By paying the higher rate of GBP 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.” 

Other employee benefits introduced by the salmon farmer include enhanced maternity and paternity packages for all employees with one or more years’ service, discounted child-care places, and a new health and well-being app.

“Recruiting and retaining good people is key to the economic sustainability of most businesses, but particularly so for companies like ours that operate in more remote communities where workforces can be smaller and competition for employees is fierce,” Scottish Sea Farms Head of HR Tracy Bryant-Shaw said. “We’ve long recognized that safeguarding the long-term viability of our business starts with looking after our people, and these latest enhancements are all part and parcel of our work to become the employer of choice in our communities.”

Photo courtesy of Scottish Sea Farms

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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