A GROUP of employers in Fife have pledged to make Glenrothes the first “Living Wage Town” in the UK.

An action plan launched by the group, which includes Fife Council and local private business owners, aims to triple the number of employers in the town with Living Wage accreditation.

The Living Wage Foundation charity said the “real living wage” is £10.55 an hour in London and £9 in the rest of the UK.

It is higher than the UK’s minimum wage of £8.21 an hour for workers over the age of 25.

Currently, 64 Fife employers are voluntarily committed to ensuring that all of their staff and subcontracted staff earn a real living wage of £9 an hour.

A total of 11 of Fife’s Living Wage accredited employers are based in Glenrothes, employing the equivalent of around 12% of the region’s workforce.

David Alexander, a co-leader at Fife Council, said the town is “leading the way”.

He said: “Glenrothes is leading the way by becoming the first town in the UK to take this town-based approach to addressing the issue of low pay.

“Fife Council’s aim is to create conditions in Fife where all residents have the capability to live good lives, make choices and reach their potential.”

Living Wage Foundation director Katherine Chapman said: “The Living Wage Foundation’s Making Living Wage Places scheme recognises groups of major local employers such as universities, sports clubs and local authorities that not only pay the living wage to their employers and contractors, but also use their influence to spread living wage accreditation through their local area.

“This increases living wage jobs, providing more workers with a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work.”

The Scottish Government’s Fair Work Minister Jamie Hepburn praised the move to increase the number of employers paying the Living Wage in the town.

“It is fantastic to see Glenrothes setting out its ambition to become the UK’s first Living Wage Town,” said Hepburn.

“The significance of the real living wage cannot be overstated and evidence shows that paying it leads to increased productivity, better morale and lower sickness absence.

“Paying the real living wage also demonstrates that an organisation is committed to treating its workforce well.

“While Scotland is making progress in becoming a Living Wage nation, and punches well above its weight in terms of the proportion of people paid at least the real living wage, more remains to be done.

“The Scottish Government is committed to doing everything in our power to put fair work and equality at the heart of our labour market.”