Thousands of Welsh Workers set for payrise as First Minister Mark Drakeford Announces New £9.90 Real Living Wage

First Minister, Mark Drakeford, to announce the new Real Living Wage for Wales of £9.90 per hour (up from £9.50 per hour) with accredited employers and campaigners at the Living Wage Week Wales Launch on Monday 15th November.

Almost 13,000 people working for 359 real Living Wage Employers are set for a vital pay boost as the new Living Wage rate rises to £9.90 in Wales (40p increase) supporting workers and families through the pandemic. The Living Wage rates are the only rates independently calculated based on what people need to live on.

The new Real Living Wage rate and the ‘National Living Wage’ – know the difference

Unlike the UK Government minimum wage (‘National Living Wage’ for over 23s – £8.91 rising to £9.50 in April 2022) the real Living Wage is the only wage rate independently calculated based on rising living costs – including fuel, energy, rent and food. A full-time worker earning the new, real Living Wage would earn £1,930 a year more than a worker earning the current government minimum (NLW). For a worker today that’s the equivalent of 7 months of food bills and more than 5 months’ rent based on average household spending in the UK. Even on next April’s higher NLW rate of £9.50, a full-time worker on the real Living Wage would earn £780 more. The increase in the Living Wage rate this year has largely been driven by rising fuel and rent costs.

This year the campaign for a real Living Wage celebrates its twentieth year across the UK and its tenth anniversary in Wales, with new research from the Cardiff Business School showing Living Wage workers have benefitted from more than £1.6bn in extra wages across the UK during this period, with one in 13 workers now working for an accredited Living Wage Employer. In Wales, over £57.2m in extra wages has gone to low-paid workers thanks to the Living Wage campaign over the last ten years.

The Living Wage movement continues to grow in Wales

The number of accredited Living Wage Employers in Wales has risen by 44% in the last year to 359, including the Wales Millennium Centre, Dyfed-Powys Police and Coaltown Coffee. Much of this progress is as a result of the work of Cynnal Cymru, the Living Wage Foundation’s Accreditation Partner in Wales, which supports employers through the process of accreditation.

Wales’ accredited Living Wage employers join a network of almost 9,000 employers across the UK, including half of the FTSE 100 companies, household names like Aviva, Everton FC, Burberry, and Lush, as well as thousands of small businesses, who are choosing to pay the real Living Wage to ensure all staff earn a wage that meets the real cost of living.

Citizens Cymru Wales is now focusing its campaigning efforts on Health Board, local authorities and care providers in Wales, asking them to accredit as Living Wage employers.

The First Minister will announce the news at a virtual Living Wage Week Wales Launch on Monday 15th November 08:30-09:30, hosted by Citizens Cymru Wales, Cynnal Cymru and the Living Wage for Wales Leadership Team.

“Today’s announcement of a rise in the Real Living Wage to £9.90 an hour stands to benefit thousands of workers in Wales. The challenge for us is to encourage more employers across Wales to commit to paying their workers at least the Living Wage. As part of the steps we can take to make work fairer, the Welsh Government is using the influence it has to improve levels of Living Wage adoption and accreditation. This includes leading by example as a Living Wage accredited employer, beginning the implementation of the real living wage in social care early in this Senedd term and encouraging employers in Wales to explore the benefits of the Living Wage for them as employers and for those that work for them.”

Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales

“We are making remarkable progress towards our goal of making Wales a Living Wage economy, but one in six workers in Wales still earn a poverty wage, and that is a big problem. We need to see more of Wales’ employers choosing to accredit with the Living Wage Foundation, especially in the public sector. This will not only lift their own staff out of in-work poverty, but also those thousands of cleaners, security guards and careworkers working for them in outsourced roles.”

Rachel Ashworth, Dean of Cardiff Business School and Chair of the Living Wage for Wales Leadership Team

“Careworkers like me are delighted that the Welsh Government is going to phase in the Real Living Wage from April next year. This will make a huge difference to the people who have been on the frontline of the pandemic. We’ve heard the clapping and we’ve heard people saying how vital our work is, and now we have heard that our wages will be going up.”

Edel Anabwani, Careworker from Cardiff and Leader with Citizens Cymru Wales

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic we continue to see significant growth in Living Wage accreditations in Wales – with 110 new employers signed up in the last year and thousands of employees benefiting from a poverty-busting payrise. If you are an employer in Wales and you want to join the Living Wage movement we can help you get accredited..”

Sarah Hopkins, Director, Cynnal Cymru

“Becoming a Living Wage Employer is something we’ve wanted to do for a while now, so we’re delighted we’ve finally been able to make that a reality. It’s a hugely important step for us to take as an organisation, to be able to recognise in a small but concrete way the tremendous value our front of house team bring to the table. They’re often the first people our visitors will have come into contact with, so they’re the face of Techniquest in many ways and play a vital role in helping bring science to life for all those who visit. Hopefully this uplift will help towards their living costs going forward and will continue to keep them ahead of the curve compared with others working in similar positions across the UK.”

Lesley Kirkpatrick, Chief Executive of Techniquest, a recently accredited Living Wage employer

“With living costs rising so rapidly, today’s new Living Wage rates will provide hundreds of thousands of workers and their families with greater security and stability. For the past 20 years the Living Wage movement has shaped the debate on low pay, showing what is possible when responsible employers step up and provide a wage that delivers dignity. Despite this, there are still millions trapped in working poverty, struggling to keep their heads above water – and these are people working in jobs that kept society going during the pandemic like social care workers and cleaners. We know that the Living Wage is good for businesses as well as workers, and as we rebuild our economy post pandemic, the real Living Wage must be at its heart.”

Katherine Chapman, Living Wage Foundation Director
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