Scotland’s fair work principles offer a valuable model for food and drink, helping you attract and retain people at all levels of the business.

The principles show a range of ways in which Scotland’s food and drink businesses are investing in employees, from pay to training to wellbeing initiatives.

What is 'fair work'?

Fair work is defined by the Scottish Government as ‘Work that offers effective voice, respect, security, opportunity and fulfilment.’

The Scottish Government’s Fair Work Action Plan sets out a range of measures to support employers to embed these practices in your own business. It asks you to:

  • Invest in skills and training: you can find out more about doing this on our careers and skills development pages
  • Ensure no inappropriate use of zero hours contracts.
  • Take action to tackle the gender pay gap.
  • Have an effective workforce voice: it recommends unions as a way to do this, but there are other ways too, as our fair work case studies show.
  • Pay the real living wage: you can hear more about the benefits of doing this in our real living wage podcast. See the Scottish Living Wage website for the most up-to-date information.

Scroll down to find out how the Scottish food and drink businesses are embedding fair work practices. 

Fair work case studies

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Case Study

Fair work at Galloway Lodge

“The concept of Fair Work is pretty simple. It’s basically ‘Do to others as you do to yourself’. I’ve got no business if I don’t have my staff, so why wouldn’t I want to look after them and be fair?”

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Case Study

Fair work at Arla

“If you train people to be the best they can be, and treat them well, they won’t want to go anywhere else. As well as good retention and loyalty, you get better morale, better productivity and a closer working relationship.”

Sutherlands of Portsoy

Case Study

Fair work at Sutherlands of Portsoy

“If you can eliminate employees’ stresses, you have a more productive and more loyal workforce. People buy into the company and want it to succeed if they feel valued by the company."

Scott Brothers Butchers

Case Study

Fair work at Scott Brothers Butchers

“I speak to virtually to every member of staff every day … I don’t know how else you would run a business."

Matthew Algie

Case Study

Fair work at Matthew Algie

“I’m a big fan of workforce development. I struggle to see a downside to it. In our experience, it’s never been easier to get hold of information and support on Fair Work and best practice.”

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Related topics


Careers and skills development

Our careers, skills and workforce development resources can help you explore your own opportunities in food and drink, whether you’re looking for a career, for tools to develop your people or for curriculum support.