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Cardiff on track to becoming a ‘Living Wage City’

A Living Wage worker in Wales now benefits from an average annual pay boost of nearly £2,000.

A Living Wage worker in Wales now benefits from an average annual pay boost of nearly £2,000.

New data out today from IHS Market for KPMG found that jobs paid below the living wage are falling at a faster rate than anywhere else in the UK except the West Midlands, although the cost of living in Wales and the UK rose faster than London.  

First Minister Mark Drakeford will announce the new Living Wage for Wales of £9.30 per hour (up from £9, an increase of 30p per hour) today at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay.

A worker paid the £9.30 real Living Wage will get £2,000 in additional wages compared to the Government minimum of £8.21 an hour – equivalent to 9 months of a typical family’s food and drink bill.    

The London and UK rates are increasing by 20p (1.9 per cent) and 30p (3.3 per cent) respectively, with the single biggest factor explaining why the UK wide rate has risen faster than the London rate being private rental costs (which increased more slowly in London). Childcare costs also rose at a faster rate UK wide compared to London. [2]   

There are now more than 222 Wales based Living Wage Employers that have voluntarily gone beyond the Government to pay a real Living Wage, including Burns Pet Food, University of Wales Trinity St David, Cardiff Council and newly accredited major private sector employer Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water. Multiple branches of household names such as Majestic, Lush and Nationwide also pay the rate.        

Dundee and Glenrothes pioneered the ‘Living Wage Places’ concept earlier this year, but Cardiff will be the first major urban area in the UK to to be recognised for their ambitious plans to make Cardiff a Living Wage City by bringing many more employers in the city up to the higher, voluntary, real Living Wage standard.      

The plan was put together by a steering group chaired by the Leader of Cardiff Council with senior representatives from civil society and local employers, and by 2022 it aims to increase the number of accredited Living Wage employers based in the capital from 100 to 150, increase the number of job roles protected by accredited Living Wage employers to 48,000 (currently around 27,250), and encourage iconic employers in Cardiff to become accredited Living Wage employers.       

UK wide £1.1 billion extra has now gone into the pockets of low paid workers, with this Living Wage week seeing 210,000 workers get a payrise onto the new Living Wage rates thanks to nearly 6,000 real Living Wage employers.   

Despite the good news research by IHG Markit for KPMG has demonstrated the scale of in-work poverty challenge in Wales, with 241,000 jobs (or 21%) of all jobs in Wales still paying less than the real Living Wage.    

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

“We are delighted that Cardiff has been recognised for its plans to become a ‘Living Wage City’ – and it is testament to the hard work and commitment of Cardiff Council and the team of employers, including my own, who helped to devise the application that we are leading the way.  Becoming a ‘Living Wage City’ is not about ticking the boxes, it is about implementing a plan to lift thousands of local workers out of in-work poverty over the next three years.  We cannot do this on our own – and so I encourage any employer based in the capital to join us, become an accredited Living Wage employer, and help us make Cardiff a Living Wage City.”  

Chief Executive of Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, Chris Jones, said:

 “Our people are our greatest asset and best ambassadors, so ensuring they are paid fairly is at the heart of our not-for-profit approach – so we are proud to support the Living Wage Foundation in this mission.       

“As one of Wales’s biggest employers, we want to play an active, positive role in the communities we serve – and promoting fair working practices is key to achieving this. This benefits our people, and also helps realise our vision of earning the trust of customers, every day.”   

El Bashir Idris, a Leader with Citizens Cymru, which leads the Living Wage campaign in Wales, said:  

“It is easy to think of Cardiff as a prosperous place, but all along the southern arc of the city are communities like mine, in Butetown, where almost half of the children grow up in poverty.  Young people like me are told that if we study hard and work hard then we’ll find a good job – but one in five jobs in Cardiff pay less than the Real Living Wage.  That is why the strategy to make Cardiff a Living Wage City is so important, and why Citizens Cymru Wales will be organising low-paid workers and their families so that they are able to influence the Living Wage City plan and ensure it raises the wages of those who really need it.”  

Cynnal Cymru Director, Mari Arthur said:   

 “Since Cynnal Cymru have managed the accreditation process in Wales we have seen a significant increase in accreditation, and whilst we celebrate those employers that have recognised the valuable contribution their employees bring to their organisations, there are still too many people being paid poverty wages in Wales. We look forward to raising awareness of the value and benefits of the Real Living Wage this week and encourage all employers to consider joining the 222 Living Wage accredited employers in Wales.”   

Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation Director, said:    

“Today’s new Living Wage rates will provide a welcome pay boost for thousands of workers throughout Wales. We are also delighted at the ambition of Cardiff to build a Living Wage city, with Cardiff planning to double the number of workers getting the real Living Wage to nearly 50,000, freeing many more families from the low pay trap. We hope to see many more towns and cities follow suit.”   

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