By Olly Davies
Cardiff is on course to be the first ‘living wage’ city in the UK. This is due to a three-year partnership between Cardiff Council and local businesses which aims to double the number of living wage accredited employers in the city.
There are presently 100 accredited living wage employers based in the capital. The plan aims to increase this number to 150 by 2022. This would result in a rise in the number of job roles protected by accredited living wage employers from 27,250 to 48,000 whilst also encouraging iconic employers in Cardiff to become accredited living wage employers.
The Living Wage Foundation is a charity which encourages businesses to pay employees a minimum wage which is calculated according to the basic living costs across the UK and London.
Currently, the government’s National Living Wage is £7.70 for workers aged 21 and older, and £8.21 for over 25s. However, the real living wage, which applies to all workers over 18 rose to £9.30 per hour nationally, and £10.75 in London, on Monday, November 11. This went up from £9.00 per hour nationally and £10.55 in London. The new real living wage provides at least £1.09 per hour more in pay.
The charity believes the difference between the real living wage and the government’s living wage amounts to £2,000 per annum. According to the Living Wage Foundation, 7,000 employees have benefited from the increased wages which amount to roughly £32.2 million since 2011.
The changes to the living wage will also mean those already employed by accredited living wage employers, around 27,250 in Cardiff, will receive a pay rise in the month before Christmas.
Professor Rachel Ashworth, Dean of Cardiff University Business School and Chair of the Living Wage for Wales leadership team, commented to Wales Online: “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.”
Across the UK, there are roughly 6,000 businesses which have signed up to provide the real living wage, including over ⅓ of FTSE 100 brands. According to Citizens UK, there are 222 of these companies in Wales alone, including University of Wales Trinity St David, Cardiff Council, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and Cardiff University.
Katherine Chapman, Director, Living Wage Foundation hopes these measures will help to free “many more families from the low pay trap”.
According to El Bashir Idris, a Leader with Citizens Cymru, “it is easy to think of Cardiff as a prosperous place…in Butetown, almost half of the children grow up in poverty.” By making Cardiff a Living Wage City it is hoped that hard work and study will provide good jobs.