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Written Statement - The Living Wage in the Public Sector

Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Local Government and Government Business

  Working Together for Wales: A Strategic Framework for the Public Service Workforce in Wales, clearly set out the Welsh Government’s ambition to put the public service workforce at the heart of citizen-centred public service delivery.

In Wales, we recognise the public service workforce is our greatest public service asset, upon which we can build and progress our vision of a workforce built around values of trust, dedication and excellence.

The cornerstone of achieving that vision is a fair deal for our public service workforce, a deal that respects the rights and responsibilities of staff and employers, together with the vital role of Trade Unions in making a difference and shaping a successful future for Wales. For services to be the very best they can be, both our citizens and the workforce need to be fully engaged in shaping their future. We want to ensure every employee has the opportunity to lead and influence how public services are delivered.

Releasing the talent, creativity and commitment of our public service workforce will be more important than ever as we continue to drive forward public service improvements, whilst adapting to unprecedentedly difficult financial realities.

In demonstrating our commitment to every worker in Wales, the Welsh Government continues to support the concept of a Living Wage as a route to addressing some of the issues associated with low pay and income poverty.

The Welsh Government is committed to achieving these aims in social partnership. Under the auspices of the Workforce Partnership Council (WPC) public sector employers and Trade Unions have taken significant steps forwards in partnership working and managing change together. There are also established practices for negotiating pay, terms and conditions between Trade Unions and employers across the public sector.

As the body which brings together public sector employers and Trade Unions in Wales to consider public sector workforce issues, the WPC is the forum where our social partners can together, consider the Living Wage in the broader context of strategic workforce matters as a whole.

Following discussions with Trade Unions, the First Minister and I have agreed to refer the Living Wage in the public sector to the Workforce Partnership Council, with a view to embedding it as one of the positive measures employers can provide to support the public sector workforce.

This reflects the Welsh Government’s commitment to encourage employers in the public, Third and private sectors to consider becoming Living Wage employers.

We will provide an update on this work in due course.