THE leadership team at Scotland’s only manufacturers of water cooling towers, which supplies and installs cooling equipment for blue-chip businesses across the UK, says it is proud that the company has been accredited as living wage employers.

Watermiser’s sister company, Dustacco Engineering, has also been awarded Scottish Living Wage Accreditation.

The living wage commitment sees all eligible staff – regardless of whether they are permanent employees or third-party contractors receive the living wage, which, at £8.45 per hour, is significantly higher than the national minimum wage. “People really are at the heart of our business and I’m sure our clients can vouch for that,” said Alison Somerville, Dustacco and Watermiser’s managing director. “We believe our commitment to the living wage demonstrates in a tangible way to clients, employees and future employees as well as the wider community, just how much importance we do place in recognising the value of our people.

“Commitment and hard work should be fairly rewarded and we hope that many others will follow in our footsteps.”

Based in Newmilns, East Ayrshire, Dustacco was founded in 1966 with Watermiser following five years later. The businesses now employ around 60 people, many from the local community. Dustacco is a mechanical and pipework installation contractor, working in Scotland and northern England across a diverse range of industries including pharmaceutical, manufacturing and utilities companies, holding frameworks with Scottish Water.

“Since our beginnings, our people have really mattered,” Somerville said. “We pride ourselves on giving more than the statutory minimum when it comes to holiday allowance and pension contributions but also other benefits too – the less tangible things such as flexibility for instance, taking on apprentices and young people, thinking about people’s job security and their future – and these benefits are really valued.”

Both companies have been Investors In People since 2003 and were early adopters of Investors In Young People to support young people and apprentices.

They are also active in the Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) initiative, currently working with fourth-year pupils years at the local high school, Loudoun Academy in Galston.

Becoming accredited living wage employers was the natural next step, according to Somerville. “We’re delighted that we are now formally recognised as living wage employers,” she said.

The real living wage is an hourly rate calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, based on the best available evidence on living standards in the UK.

Full-time workers receiving the living wage earn £45 a week more than those on the UK Government’s so-called living wage, which is a rebranding of the legally binding minimum wage and only applies to those over the age of 25.

The real living wage applies to everyone over the age of 18 “in recognition that young people face the same living costs as everyone else”.

Employers choose to pay the real living wage on a voluntary basis. The Living Wage Foundation, The Poverty Alliance and the Scottish Living Wage Campaign believe that work should be the surest way out of poverty. More than 3000 employers across the UK have pledged to pay the Real Living Wage, nearly 800 of them in Scotland.