What will it take to pay the Living Wage in Merthyr Tydfil?

ProjectsJuly 30th, 2016

Approximately 6,000 workers in Merthyr Tydfil – around a quarter of the workforce – are paid below the voluntary Living Wage. So how can we change this?

Following on from our work on the Living Wage in Wales and the Cardiff Capital Region, we’ve considered what it would take for there to be a step-change in the number of people earning the voluntary  Living Wage in Merthyr Tydfil.

We spoke to employers, workers’ representatives and community organisations throughout the borough, and  published a series of briefings on the benefits of the Living Wage to disseminate the ideas even further. We also gathered employers’, trade unions’ and other campaigners’ experiences and understanding of the voluntary Living Wage initiative via a survey and other direct communications.

The project was funded by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and Oxfam Cymru.

Start date:  1st July 2016   End date: 30th November 2016

Outputs and resources:

Fair pay for Merthyr: An action plan for the Living Wage

The Bevan Foundation’s Living Wage action plan for the borough explores what is needed to significantly reduce the number of low paid workers in the borough. It advises that a Merthyr Living Wage campaign should take on a local edge, and be led by a strategy group which will provide direction to reach specific targets to increase take-up of the Living Wage.

The six-point strategy recommends:

1. Establishing the Merthyr Living Wage

At the same rate as the Living Wage Foundation rate, local branding will raise the awareness, interest and drive take-up.

2. Setting an achievable target

Aim for Merthyr to have the same proportion of workers on the Living Wage as the UK by 2021 and to secure 12 more Living Wage-accredited employers by Living Wage week in November 2017.

3. Targeting natural sympathisers

Public, third sector and responsible private sector businesses should be encouraged to take the crucial step to committing to the Merthyr Living Wage.

4. Working Together

A local strategy group should provide leadership, offer incentives and support and oversee progress.

5. Harness the power of the local supply chain

Using local purchasing power, especially when goods and services are procured locally, is critical.

6. A fresh approach to funding

Public sector and charitable funders should specify and fund payment of the voluntary Living Wage to all organisations they grant-aid.

Background research

The action plan is supported by three documents which look at the potential impact of the Living Wage on Merthyr Tydfil and the obstacles and barriers which a Living Wage campaign would face. This research is based on a series of interviews and discussions conducted across the borough.

To download the action plan and briefings, please click here.


To help highlight the potential benefits of the Living Wage for Merthyr Tydfil, we have published a selection of one-page briefings aimed at employers, employees and community organisations which explain what the voluntary Living Wage is and what it will mean for them. To download the briefings, click here.

employer-briefing-1        employee-briefing-1        community-briefing-1

Tagged with: South Wales Valleys


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