SSE’s networks business, SHE Transmission, has awarded its largest ever Living Wage contract, worth approximately $721 million (£460million), to engineering firm ABB Limited.
The contract is part of the Caithness to Moray Transmission Project, the vital new subsea link which will allow more renewable energy to join up to the network in the north of Scotland. It is Scotland’s largest ever Living Wage contract to date and will support at least 600 jobs.
Alistair Phillips-Davies, Chief Executive of SSE, said: “Just over a year ago SSE became the first energy company to be a Living Wage employer and remains the only energy supplier to do so.
“SSE is proud to play its part when it comes to being a responsible business and one which helps build a fairer and more prosperous Scotland. The new Caithness to Moray contract will make sure hundreds of workers on site will get a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work and reflects our commitment to being a responsible employer.
“It is one of several actions SSE is taking to make a difference including being the first FTSE 100 company to be awarded the Fair Tax Mark.”
The announcement comes ahead of new First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visiting SSE’s Glasgow offices where she will call for a fairer and more prosperous Scotland.
Under SSE’s contract, ABB will design, engineer, supply and commission an HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) system running between converter stations at Spittal in central Caithness and Blackhillock, near Keith, in Moray.
The new subsea link, which will feature over 100 miles of underground and subsea cable, is needed to transmit a large volume of electricity from renewable sources in the north of Scotland.
Construction work is expected to be completed in 2018. It is part of a transformational programme of investment in electricity transmission infrastructure to support the transition to lower carbon electricity generation, increasing security of supply and economic growth.
All staff and contractors will be paid at least the Living Wage of £7.65 per hour and £7.85 from April 2015.
Peter Kelly, Director of The Poverty Alliance, said: “We welcome this announcement from SSE which demonstrates that even in large scale contracts it is possible to pay workers the Living Wage. Scottish businesses can all play their part in building a fairer and more prosperous society and paying the Living Wage is one way to do that.
“The Living Wage in Scotland is now gaining genuine momentum with employers – the number of employers paying it here has tripled from 20 to 70 since April. We recognise the support for the campaign from accredited employers like SSE and the Scottish Government.”
SSE was accredited as a Living Wage employer in 2013 and recently received the Living Wage Champion Award for Scotland.