First Minister Carwyn Jones Announces Real Living Wage Increase To £9 In Wales

Carwyn Jones at the Living Wage launch

First Minister Carwyn Jones Announces Real Living Wage Increase To £9 In Wales

On Monday 05 November, Cynnal Cymru in partnership with Citizens Cymru launched Living Wage week in Wales with a breakfast launch at bigmoose in Cardiff. The new rates were announced, by the First Minister Carwyn Jones, who also received an awards for his Outstanding Contribution to the Living Wage in Wales.

Speakers at the event included Rachel Cable, Head of Oxfam Cymru; Ed Heery from Cardiff University; Mari Arthur, Director at Cynnal Cymru, Mohammed Cheggaf (Aberystwyth University worker); Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University ; Meg Lewis, Jeff Smith and Chloe Smith, bigmoose and Dave Horton, Citizens Cymru Wales.

– First Minister, Carwyn Jones, to announce the new real Living Wage for Wales of £9 per hour (up from £8.75 per hour) alongside the Vice Chancellor of Aberystwyth University at the Living Wage Week Wales Launch in Cardiff on Monday 5th November

– The rate is independently calculated to reflect the increased cost of livingand is £1.17 more per hour than the minimum wage (for over 25s)

– 4,700+ UK businesses currently pay the voluntary real Living Wage rate; 174 of which are headquartered in Wales – a 55% increase in the past year

– Since 2012, when Citizens Cymru began, £22,284,341 in extra wages has gone into workers’ pockets in Wales

Workers in Wales must earn £9 an hour if they are to earn a wage that covers the cost of living.

There are more than 170 Welsh Living Wage employers that pay staff enough to live on, including newly accredited Aberystwyth University. As the new real Living Wage rates increase to £9 around the UK due to rising living costs, their lowest paid staff will get a pay boost. The Living Wage rates are independently calculated and based on the real cost of living.

The real Living Wage rate has increased by 25p from £8.75 to £9. Of the 4700+ employers who currently pay the real Living Wage, 174 are headquartered in Wales.

Including branches of other Living Wage organisations, there are a total of 603 employers in the region who go further than the minimum, including Barclays, IKEA, Majestic Wine, Lush and Nationwide.

Living Wage employers in Wales have welcomed the news of the increased rate.  A range of events have been arranged to celebrate Living Wage Week and encourage more employers to accredit, involving the First Minister (Carwyn Jones AM), Cabinet Secretary for Finance (Mark Drakeford AM), and the Leader of Cardiff Council (Cllr Huw Thomas).

 

Carwyn Jones, the First Minister of Wales, said:

 “Today’s announcement of a rise on the hourly rate is a significant pay rise for thousands; this will be of huge benefit to Wales’ economy as well as to individuals, helping to tackle the issue of in-work poverty. We are committed to promoting the adoption of the Living Wage across our nation and building on the achievements made already.”

“We recognise fair work and fair pay can help achieve a stronger, more inclusive economy, and that’s why I established a Fair Work Commission earlier this year. I would encourage everyone to send their experience to our call for evidence – people’s personal views and experiences will give an effective voice, shaping the future success of our workforce.”

 

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

“We are making steady progress towards our goal of making Wales a Living Wage economy, with a 55% increase in the number of employers choosing to accredit with the Living Wage Foundation over the past year, and a strong pipeline of organisations taking tangible steps in the right direction. A quarter of workers in Wales still earn a poverty wage, and that is a big problem.  What is worse is that many of their employers receive support from the taxpayer.  It must not be the case that public money subsidises poverty pay – so we call on every employer that receives public money in Wales to work with us to accredit as a Living Wage employer by the end of the Assembly term in 2021.” 

 

Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, said:

 “Aberystwyth University is one of the biggest employers in Mid Wales, with more than 2,000 full-time and part-time staff. We value the contribution they make to all areas of campus life, and their dedication and commitment underpins the success of our institution. Our decision to adopt the real Living Wage reflects our principles and values as an ethical employer and we are now working to support responsible employment practices throughout our supply chain.”

 

Mohammed Cheggaf, a worker at Aberystwyth University, said:

 “Receiving the real Living Wage rate has made a big difference. The cost of living is increasing all the time, with shopping and other bills becoming more expensive. Now that I am earning the real Living Wage, paying these bills is easier and life is better for me and my family.”

 

Living Wage Foundation Director, Tess Lanning, said:  
“The Living Wage campaign is about tackling the rising problem of people paid less than they need to live. Responsible businesses know that the government minimum is not enough to live on, and today’s new Living Wage rates will provide a boost for  thousands of workers throughout Wales.

 “Employers that pay the real Living Wage enable their workers to live a life of dignity, supporting them to pay off debts and meet the pressures of rising bills. We want to see local councils, universities, football clubs, bus companies and the other major public and private sector employers in every city commit to become real Living Wage employers. When they do, thousands of people get a pay rise, but other local employers also follow their lead. If more of these institutions step up, we can start to build true Living Wage places.”

 

Find out how to become a Living Wage Accredited Employer

Cynnal Cymru is the accreditation body for the Living Wage in Wales and hopes to reach 200 accredited Living Wage employers by the end of 2018. For more information on the living wage in Wales please visit www.cynnalcymru.com/living-wage  or contact Bethan Harvey – bethan@cynnalcymru.com.

 


Living Wage Week

Living Wage Week from 5-10 November 2018 is a UK-wide celebration of the more than 4,700 employers that have voluntarily committed to ensure employees earn a real Living Wage. This includes over a third of the FTSE 100 and major household names such as IKEA, Burberry, Nationwide, Everton Football Club, Heathrow Airport and Oxfam.

 

 About the Living Wage Foundation

Only the real Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK and in London. Employers choose to pay this wage on a voluntary basis. The real Living Wage applies to all workers over 18 – in recognition that young people face the same living costs as everyone else. It enjoys cross party support.

The UK Living Wage for outside of London from Monday 5th November is £9 per hour. The London Living Wage is £10.55 per hour. This figure covers all boroughs in Greater London. These figures are calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, based on the best available evidence on living standards in the UK and in London.

The Living Wage Foundation is the institution at the heart of the independent movement of businesses, organisations and people who believe that a hard day’s work should mean a fair day’s pay. We recognise and celebrate the leadership shown by the 4,700+ Living Wage employers across the UK who voluntarily commit to ensure their staff earn a real Living Wage that meets the cost of living. We are an initiative of Citizens UK.

 

What is the real Living Wage?

The real Living Wage is an hourly rate of pay set independently and updated annually (not the UK government’s National Living Wage). It is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK, and employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis. According to the Living Wage Foundation, since 2001 the campaign has impacted over 180,000 employees and redistributed over £800m to some of the lowest paid workers in the UK.

 

How is the real Living Wage different from the government’s National Living Wage?

In April 2016 the government introduced a higher minimum wage rate for all staff over 25 years of age inspired by the Living Wage campaign – even calling it the ‘National Living Wage’.

The government’s ‘National Living Wage’ is not calculated according to what employees and their families need to live. It is based on a target to reach 60% of median earnings by 2020. Under current forecasts this means a rise to less than £9 per hour by 2020.

That’s why the Living Wage movement campaigns for all employers that can afford to do so to ensure their employees earn a wage that meets the cost of living, not just the government minimum.