[:en]On Monday 06 November, Cynnal Cymru in partnership with Citizens Cymru launched Living Wage week in Wales with a business breakfast at Capitol Law.
Chris Nott, Senior Partner in Capitol Law and newly appointed Prince of Wales Ambassador for Responsible Business in Wales sponsored the event and spoke about how the living wage benefits individuals as well as society. Capitol Law became the 100th accredited employer in Wales in July, enshrining in official accreditation what had long been their established practice as a responsible business.
The event was hosted by Cynnal Cymru Director, Mari Arthur and Citizens Cymru Community Organiser, Ali Abdi and demonstrated the need to increase the number of Living Wage employers in Wales. Delegates heard from the new Chair of the Living Wage for Wales Leadership Group and Chief Operating Officer of Cardiff University, Jayne Sadgrove who spoke about the growth of the Living Wage movement in Wales throughout the last year. Cynnal Cymru became the official accreditation body for the Living Wage in Wales in November 2016 and the number of accredited employers in Wales has increased more than 30% from 80 to 114.
Hannah Searle, an employee from the Museum of the Welsh Soldier spoke about the difference being paid the Living Wage has made to her life, ensuring she has been able to support herself throughout her degree.
Cardiff Council received the Living Wage champion Award for 2017 for all their work in aiming to make Wales a Living Wage city including providing financial support for SME’s who would like to become accredited employers.
Careers Wales and Cardiff Third Sector Council were presented with their plaques for recently becoming accredited Living Wage employers and WCVA were announced as the first Friendly Funder in Wales.
The new Living Wage rates for 2017/18 were revealed on Monday by the First Minister for Wales; Carwyn Jones are £8.75 an hour, and £10.20 per hour for those in London.
The entire country of Wales has a problem of low pay. Whilst there have been falls in pensioner and child poverty compared to ten years ago, the proportion of households in Wales with people of working-age in poverty remains high. A quarter of all Welsh workers still don’t earn a real Living Wage. Around 700,000 people, about 23% of the population of Wales are in poverty.
These figures come at a time when employment in Wales is the highest on record and the number of children living in workless households is continuing to fall. This shows that people are not being lifted out of poverty through work. Employees gaining the Living Wage is a way to lift people in work, out of poverty.
There are currently 114 accredited Living Wage employers in Wales. These organisations chose to pay their directly employed staff and any contracted staff such as cleaners, security or catering staff, more than the government legal minimum wage. The Living Wage campaign in Wales has, to date guaranteed a Living Wage to more than 35,000 workers, raised the wages of almost 6000 people, and put an extra £15 million into the back pockets of low-paid workers in Wales.
Cynnal Cymru hopes to reach 150 accredited Living Wage employers by the end of 2017. For more information on the living wage in Wales please visit www.cynnalcymru.com/living-wage or contact Megan David – firstname.lastname@example.org.