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Craft Scotland becomes a Scottish Living Wage employer

Last year in August Creative Scotland published its Arts Strategy. Placing value on the contribution artists make to our society and communities, the Strategy calls for a greater commitment to paying artists fairly for their work to enable them to sustain their careers.

In this guest post, Craft Scotland explores the wide-reaching benefits of the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation:

Craft Scotland Director, Fiona Logue with Scottish Government Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn.
Craft Scotland Director, Fiona Logue with Scottish Government Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn

In 2013, Craft Scotland voluntarily signed up to the Scottish Business Pledge to show our commitment to adopting fair and progressive business practices. We strongly believe in supporting the progressive workplace policies that the Scottish Business Pledge highlights, including not using exploitative zero hours contracts, flexible working hours and making progress on diversity and gender balance in our wider team.

Part of our journey through the Scottish Business Pledge includes us to recently becoming officially accredited as a Living Wage Employer. Scottish Government Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn visited Craft Scotland to offer his congratulations to the organisation on their commitment to fair work principles.

Scottish Government Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said: “The Scottish Government has long championed the Living Wage and the associated economic benefits such as reduced absenteeism and improved staff morale. Scotland remains the best performing of all four UK countries in this respect, with nearly 80% of the country’s employees receiving the Living Wage. I congratulate Craft Scotland on becoming the latest organisation to receive Living Wage accreditation, and hope that even more will follow its example.”

The Living Wage commitment will see everyone working at Craft Scotland receive a real Living Wage of at least £8.45 per hour. This is significantly higher than government minimum wage of £6.70 and the new minimum wage premium for over 25s of £7.50 per hour introduced this April. This will be available for both permanent employees and third-party contractors. Full time employees earning the real Living Wage can earn up to £2,000 per year more than those on the government minimum.

"Craft Scotland champions for fair pay for makers and prompt payment. It is vital that makers are compensated for their craftsmanship, time and materials."

Craft Scotland Director, Fiona Logue said: “Our commitment to paying both staff and makers fairly is not new but it is heartening to receive recognition for doing so. It can be challenging for small organisations on fixed income to make such a commitment but I strongly believe it is not only right for the individuals concerned but is also good for our organisation and for the craft sector. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity of giving the Minister information about the sector and pointing out that self-employed individuals, as the majority of makers are, do not have the same protection around income as those in employment. We will continue to ensure that anyone we work with in employing makers will pay them a fair rate.”

Our new accreditation has been welcomed by the Poverty Alliance who deliver the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative in partnership with the Living Wage Foundation.

Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance said: “We are delighted to congratulate Craft Scotland on becoming a Living Wage employer. Paying the real Living Wage makes a huge difference to people’s lives, and becoming accredited sends an unambiguous statement to staff, customers and the wider public that an employer is fair dealing. I hope to see more employers in the Creative Industries take the lead in committing to the real Living Wage, and in doing so, employers can enjoy increased productivity and improvements in staff retention”.

The creative industries can often be awash with great opportunities that sadly require makers to work for free, as a result Craft Scotland champions for fair pay for makers and prompt payment. It is vital that makers are compensated for their craftsmanship, time and materials.

David Powell’s BFG Willow Sculpture during Craft Scotland and Edinburgh International Book Festival’s Meet Your Maker event 2016
David Powell’s BFG Willow Sculpture during Craft Scotland and Edinburgh International Book Festival’s Meet Your Maker event 2016 

We follow the Scottish Artists Union’s guidelines for pay rates for visual and applied artists in Scotland. From the Scottish Artist Union’s inception it has sought to establish recognised national standards in artists’ contracts and payments to support a better quality of life. Additionally, Craft Scotland follows The Artists Information Company (a-n), which offers guidance on exhibiting fees and day rates for visual artists/makers.

Fair pay for makers is important as it is often difficult for artists to quantify the value of their work and through Craft Scotland championing fair pay makers can become more confident in their pricing.

Craft Scotland insist on fair pay terms for makers with our partners and throughout our programme. This is particularly evident in our Meet Your Maker programme, which brings the skills of quality craft makers into the public eye. Since its inception, together with our partners, we have presented 80 events to total audiences of over 13,000, working with nearly 200 makers – makers who have been paid for preparation days, materials and their time during the events. The programme began life as an exhibition in partnership with the National Museum of Scotland in 2010, and has since included events at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP),  Young Offenders Institution (YOI) Cornton Vale in Stirling and the Living Memory Association in Edinburgh.

Craft Scotland is the national agency for craft. We work to unite, inspire and champion craft through creating opportunities for makers in Scotland to practice, exhibit, sell and promote their craft and for audiences to see, purchase and learn about craft. We lobby for craft as an essential and integral part of our cultural, economic and social life and work in partnership with other like-minded agencies. We are a charity supported by Creative Scotland through Regular Funding.

www.craftscotland.org