This St David’s Day, we are asking organisations across Wales to think about the little things they can do to ensure no one in Wales has to work for less than the real Living Wage, whether it’s understanding how to become an accredited Living Wage employer, or reaching out to other organisations to encourage them to consider the real Living Wage, or helping us share the positive messages about the difference that paying the real Living Wage can make.
The real Living Wage is the only UK wage rate that is voluntarily paid by 7,000 UK businesses who believe their staff deserve a wage which meets every day needs – like the weekly shop, or a surprise trip to the dentist. In Wales, there are 278 accredited Living Wage employers, and over 11,428 employees in Wales have received a pay rise as a result of their employers accrediting. At UK level, the real Living Wage enjoys cross-party support.
Despite the huge challenges of the past year, we have seen continued momentum around the real Living Wage in Wales. In 2020, 55 employers across all sectors and industries in Wales took the step of accrediting as Living Wage employers, (compared to 56 in 2019). By taking individual action these employers saw a total of 4,300 workers uplifted to a real Living Wage.
According to the TUC, nearly a quarter of all workers in Wales are being paid below the real Living Wage rate. In some Welsh constituencies that number is 1 in 3.
In a recent Joseph Rowntree Foundation Briefing, it was found that 4 in 10 households in poverty in Wales contain a full-time worker, and over half have someone in work, showing that while work reduces the risk of poverty, it often isn’t enough to allow someone to escape from it.
Paying people a real Living Wage gives people a route out of poverty and means they have more money to spend in their local economies, and on the things that matter to them.
So, as we start to plan our way out of COVID, and ensure we are more resilient for the future, we encourage all employers to consider what little things they can do to make things better. What positive action can you take today? Becoming a real Living Wage employer is a small step that can bring about big changes for your workers, your organisation and your community.
Cynnal Cymru is the accrediting body for the real Living Wage in Wales and are here to help you through the accreditation process. Get in touch, join the movement, do the little things.
We wish you all a happy St David’s Day. Diolch yn fawr!
All figures based on 1 February 2021 data