Living Wage Week 2018 has been the biggest yet! From all the Living Wage team UK wide and Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales, we would like to say a huge thank you!
Monday 5th November 2018
Our director Mari Arthur started off the week with a BBC Radio Cymru studio interview on Post Cyntaf to launch Living Wage Week in Wales. Post Cyntaf is the Welsh language breakfast show that shares the latest news from Wales and beyond. Mari’s interview can be accessed on the Radio Cymru website until the 4th December on this archive and the Living Wage item starts at 23:40.
It was then on to the Business Breakfast launch event at Big Moose Coffee, Cardiff and sponsored by Knox and Wells, to hear from speakers from the Living Wage Leadership Team and the announcement of the new rates for Wales by Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales as £9.
The event was hosted by Rachel Cable, Head of Oxfam Cymru who presented the different speakers and continually showed her support for the Real Living Wage as a practical solution in tackling poverty.
Professor Edmund Heery from Cardiff Business School then gave a Progress Report on how far Wales has come in increasing the number of accredited employers in the last year with breakdowns on how many people in Wales are covered by a Living Wage Accreditation (39,107) and beneficiaries (6,203).
Mari Arthur then spoke to accredited employers and the employees that have benefited from receiving a Real Living Wage. This included Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor of newly accredited Aberystwyth University. The second University in Wales to gain their accreditation and ensure a Living Wage is paid across their workforce. Professor Treasure urged other universities to follow-suit and ensured all that with board or governor-level support accreditation is not as difficult as you may imagine at the start of the process.
We then heard from Mohamed Cheggaf who is a security worker at Aberystwyth University who spoke of the increase in the cost of living and how every penny counted in creating a decent standard of living for him and his family.
Mari also interviewed our bigmoose hosts Jeff and Chloe Smith – on why they chose to be a Living Wage Employer from their offset earlier in the year. Both employers spoke with a genuine regard for their employees and their well-being and Chloe Smith also added that bigmoose chose to accredit in order to lead by example and show that if smaller businesses and not-for-profits can afford to accredit then the bigger organisations definitely can!
Meg Phillips is employed by bigmoose and at the young age of 20 and after having worked low-paid jobs in the past, understood the importance of being paid a Living Wage and the impact it can have on quality of life. It meant that she can both enjoy life (including taking her family on holiday) and save for a house, a luxury afforded to very few 20 year olds in the current economy.
It was then time for the official announcement of the new rate from Carwyn Jones, First Minister for Wales and these were revealed as £9 for Wales (and UK) and £10.55 for London. The First Minister spoke proudly of his support for the Living Wage campaign and his part in the accreditation of the Welsh Assembly in 2001 and how governments work best when they truly listen to those working on the ground. Work that was later recognised in the form of a special recognition award presented by Dave Horton from Citizens Cymru Wales.
There was then time for photo opportunities, media interviews and networking among a dedicated group of responsible employers, politicians in support of the Living Wage and academics and professionals pushing the agenda for a fair day’s pay.
Tuesday 6th November
On the Tuesday of Living Wage week Jane Hutt AM organised a meeting on the Senedd Steps for Assembly Members to show their support for the Living Wage. Despite the grey weather, there was a great turn-out with much discussion and some Assembly Members choosing to make video messages of support. You can see videos below from Jane Hutt AM, Leanne Wood AM and Vaughan Gething AM.
The Art of the Possible is one of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales main programmes of work, that aims to shine a light on good work that improving well-being across our communities. As part of the programme the office of the Future Generations Commissioner has presented a series of simple changes that public bodies can implement in order to maximise their contribution to the seven well-being goals. One of the simple changes is that public services become a Living Wage employer contributing to the following well-being goals, A Prosperous Wales, A Globally Responsible Wales and a more equal Wales.
Bethan Harvey – Projects and Events Administrator for Cynnal Cymru and Accreditation officer for the Living Wage in Wales spoke on the subject and how public bodies can lead by example in the payment of the Living Wage, you can read more on this here.
Wednesday 7th November
On the Wednesday of Living Wage Week the Living Wage for Wales Leadership team met and some members stayed for our networking lunch with WCVA (Wales’ first Friendly Funder) and opened our shared office space to champions of the Living Wage from the Living Wage Cardiff Council, WCVA and responsible employers from the industries of construction, communications and credit unions.
Thursday 8th November
Thursday saw a planning meeting taking place on the subject of Cardiff’s potential as a Living Wage City which would require that a high enough percentage of employers from across industries and sectors paying a Living Wage for Wales’ capital city to become a Living Wage Place. As you can see the meeting was attended by Mark Drakeford AM, Sue Hurrell Special Projects Manager with the Welsh Government and part of the Living Wage for Wales Leadership Team, John Paxton from Cardiff Council and Ed Heery from Cardiff University and Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales Director- Mari Arthur. This was back-dropped by the Living Wage Foundation flags being flown from Cardiff Castle (as they did for the week’s duration).
Living Wage Week in Wales 2018 was a great success, raising profile for the movement and resulting in some new organisations publicly showing their support. As the accrediting body in Wales and an organisation that believes in social justice, fair pay and the well-being of future generations; Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales look forward to the continued growth of the movement and co-working with all those in support of the payment of a real Living Wage – paying a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.
Living Wage Week Accreditations in Wales
Aberystwyth now join Cardiff as Wales’ accredited universities. As an employer of over 2000 people they are a strong driving force of Ceredigion’s economy and it is great to see them come on board during Living Wage Week.
Rockwool are a construction company with almost 500 employees that have made an official and public commitment to paying a Living Wage for all.
Institute of Welsh Affairs
IWA are an independent think tank working to make Wales better. We come up with practical ideas to improve the economy, education and health, including championing the payment of a Living Wage.[:]