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Roughly a quarter of Merthyr Tydfil’s workforce is paid below the voluntary Living Wage, with little prospect of this changing without concerted effort.
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 recommends that a Merthyr Living Wage campaign takes on a local edge, and is 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.
The action plan is support by three documents which look at the potential impact of the Living Wage on Merthyr 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, and the documents are able to download here:
- Fair pay for Merthyr: Opportunities and constraints facing the Living Wage
- Fair Pay for Merthyr: Employers, employees and the Living Wage
- Fair Pay for Merthyr: The potential impact of the Living Wage
The Bevan Foundation’s research on the Living Wage in Merthyr Tydfil has been generously funded by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and Oxfam Cymru. For more information about this project, please visit the project page.