University celebrates Living Wage Week

Employers and employees have celebrated #LivingWageWeek in Wales by marking Cardiff’s journey towards becoming a Living Wage City.

Cardiff University, Cardiff Council, Citizens Cymru, Wales Millennium Centre and other organisations across the city met at the University’s sbarc spark building to celebrate three years of progress and hear about next steps.

Youth worker Mustafa Mohamed set up Tiger Bay Development, helping to empower young people between 10 and 25 with the transformative power of sport.

"Money is a fundamental thing, especially now when everything is so expensive. There are a lot of young people in Tiger Bay, in Butetown, who have high aspirations but need confidence that they can achieve in life. Better paid jobs build self esteem, and encourage more people to want to get into work, to stop them stagnating.

"A Living Wage is an incentive to not be idle, to work and know you can provide for yourself and your family. People then feel inspired and encouraged do their job well, and know they can have job satisfaction, security, and dignity. A living wage raises the morale - of the individual, the family and the community."

Matt Jones, who co-owns Hard Lines Coffee in Cardiff, explained the benefit of being paid the Living Wage in a business that employs 18 people.

"It’s been good for our staff, for instance after long shifts on Saturday afternoons, helping them to spend more and enjoy life. We want people to work for Hard Lines because they want to be with us long-term, and hopefully paying them a bit more money can help to achieve that."

Cardiff council leader, Cllr Huw Thomas, shared his thoughts on progress, outlining how creating a Living Wage City has brought benefits to the local economy and accredited employers.

"We became the first UK capital city to become a Real Living Wage city in 2019, setting out key targets in a three-year plan: we wanted to increase the number of accredited employers from 82 to 150 - we have achieved this, and now have 186, large and small, across all sectors.

"We wanted to raise the number of employees working for an accredited employer from 27,000 in 2019 to 48,000: we achieved this and more, with 67,500 employees in Cardiff now paid the Real Living Wage.

"Perhaps most importantly, we wanted to increase the number of people who received a pay rise through the real Living Wage, from 4,500 to 6,500. We smashed this target, and now have almost 11,000 receiving more money in their pockets."

Professor Chris Taylor, Director of SPARK - the Social Science Research Park - told the meeting that sbarc spark was the first Living Wage building in Wales.

Sarah Hopkins, from Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales - the Living Wage Foundation’s accreditation partner in Wales said: "Research has confirmed how the real Living Wage continues to support a high value, high growth economy in Wales. We now have almost 500 Real Living Wage accredited employers in Wales, employing over 110,000 and resulting in uplifts for almost 18,000 workers. We have gained 118 accredited employers this year - more than in the whole of last year. It’s really encouraging to see employers across Cardiff and the rest of Wales recognise the benefits that a long term investment in wages can bring."

Cardiff University research shows some 93% of Living Wage employers report a benefit as a result of becoming accredited with the Living Wage Foundation: more than half report improvements in recruitment into entry level roles (53%), staff retention (52%) and workplace relations between staff and managers (59%).

Employers who adopt the Real Living Wage do so to support organisational, socially responsible values, with 93% of Real Living Wage employers noting it brings benefits including enhancing corporate reputation, helping to recruit and retain staff, and improving the quality of a company’s goods or services.

In September, the Living Wage Foundation announced a rise in the Real Living Wage from 9.90 to 10.90 an hour.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: "It’s the difference that ensures work pays and living costs can be met. The challenge for us is to get more employers to commit to the Real Living Wage. Every employer who can afford to pay the Real Living Wage should do so: it is good for workers and good for employers and it will remain part of our commitment to a Wales of fair work."

As of 2020, all universities in Wales are accredited Living Wage employers committed to paying staff a wage that provides a decent standard of living for their direct employees and on-site contractors.

The latest from Cardiff University.