Carwyn Jones announces new Living Wage rate for Wales

The new Living Wage rate for the UK has been announced today, with First Minister Carwyn Jones launching the rate in Wales at Cardiff Castle.

The real Living Wage has been set at £8.45 per hour. The rate is independently calculated based on what people need to meet their basic everyday needs.

This is an increase of 2.4% on the 2015 rate and 17% higher than the government minimum for over 25s of £7.20 per hour.

The Living Wage campaign has helped to close the cost of living gap for more than 120,000 low-paid workers across the UK. The number of Living Wage accredited employers in Wales has grown by more than a third in the last year. 79 employers now voluntarily pay the real Living Wage in Wales, including Brecon Careg Mineral Water, Cardiff University and the Welsh National Assembly.

The First Minister announced the new rate this morning (31st October) at an event hosted by Citizens Cymru Wales in Cardiff Castle. Citizens Cymru Wales showcased the new ‘Living Wage for Wales’ brand and the campaign to make Wales a Living Wage economy within the next 5 years.

Cynnal Cymru was announced as the Living Wage Foundation’s local accreditation partner to support employers joining the movement in Wales. Events in Wales will be held throughout the week, including an ascent of Pen-y-Fan.

Carwyn Jones announced the new UK Rate in Cardiff Castle, saying:

“My vision for Wales is for a strong, fair economy delivering more and better jobs. I am proud that we have record levels of employment in Wales, while there has been great progress in the number of employers across the private and public sectors adopting the Living Wage.

“At its heart, the Living Wage is all about a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. The Living Wage allows people to improve their situation and enjoy their lives. But it also makes sound business sense – it boosts morale, improves productivity, innovation and, ultimately, staff retention.”

FITM8, a personal training company in Barry, has also been chosen as the winner of the Living Wage Champion Award 2016 for Wales. The Living Wage Foundation organise these awards to recognise the life changing impact employers have made within communities by leading the way on paying and promoting the Living Wage.

Carlmichael Reardon-James, Founder and Director of FITM8, said:

“FITM8 has always been a community focused business, with the individual at the very heart of what we do. We believe as a small business that ensuring our team are paid a comfortable Living Wage has a direct effect on morale; happy team members means happy clients. Being recognised as a Living Wage Champion for Wales reiterates our commitment to bringing awareness of the positive effect the Living Wage has on businesses and organisations.”

Danielle Whitburn, a Farm Shop Assistant for Burns Pet Nutrition and Living Wage employee in Kidwelly, said:

“Earning the Living Wage makes you feel like you are a valued employee who is appreciated for the work you do. I can relax more knowing I don’t have to worry about bills and put more energy into my job. Having a large family and four children, the Living Wage has ensured I can give my children a little extra as there isn’t a constant worry about bills.”

Mari Arthur, Director of Cynnal Cymru said:

“We are excited to be working in partnership with Citizens UK Cymru and the Living Wage Foundation. Currently we have almost 80 Living Wage employers in Wales, an increase of more than a third since last year. It is central to Cynnal Cymru’s vision of developing a sustainable Wales, ensuring that the private, public and third sector undertake responsible business and support their employees through providing a real Living Wage. Cynnal Cymru have been a Living Wage employer for three years and can’t wait to encourage others to take this step towards a fairer society.”

Living Wage Foundation Director, Katherine Chapman said:

“Many thanks to Carwyn Jones for showing his support for the Living Wage in Wales, and congratulations to FITM8 on winning the 2016 Wales Living Wage Champion Award. The number of Welsh employers paying a real Living Wage has increased by more than a third this year and we are really excited to be working in partnership with Cynnal Cymru to encourage even more employers to sign up. We want to celebrate those organisations making a real difference to families and communities by paying a real Living Wage that meets the cost of living. More employees than ever in Wales and over 120,000 employees across the UK now earn a real Living Wage.”

The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and re-calculated annually based on what people need to meet their basic everyday needs. Nearly 3,000 employers voluntarily choose to pay this wage, currently set at £8:45, and £9:75 in London to reflect the higher cost of living.  It is not to be confused with the ‘national living wage’ set by the UK Government.

Events in Wales for Living Wage Week

Sunday (30th): Living Wage ascent of Snowdon to mark the start of Living Wage Week: The climb will start at the Lyn Gwynant campsite at the foot of Snowdon which is an accredited Living Wage organisation, in an area where low pay is widespread.

Monday 31st from 8.45am: Carwyn Jones announces the Wales Living Wage rate at Cardiff Castle (Castle St, Cardiff CF10 3RB) to mark the start of Living Wage Week

Thursday 3rd from 4 pm: Leaders from Citizens Cymru Wales will visit Penderyn Whisky Distillery for a tasting and to encourage the management to become an accredited Living Wage employer as part of the ‘Living Wage for Wales’ strategy to encourage 15 iconic Welsh brands to go Living Wage.

Friday 4th November from 10 am: Ascent of Pen y Fan, with Living Wage employers including Brecon Carreg – we’ll be literally flying (and planting) the flag for the Living Wage at the top of south Wales’ largest mountain – media are welcome to film and take pictures.

Living Wage Week

Living Wage week is a UK wide celebration from the 31st of October – 5th November in which Living Wage employers and their employees all over the country celebrate their role in the Living Wage movement. Living Wage employers pay all their employees and onsite contractors the real Living Wage.

For more information visit the Living Wage website


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