Fair pay commitment by USW

Living wage

The Living Wage Foundation today announced that the University of South Wales, has been accredited as a Living Wage employer, making them Wales’ 200th accredited employer. 

The Living Wage Foundation and Cynnal Cymru have hit a long-anticipated milestone after a year of significant growth. We are celebrating the 200th employer in Wales with The University of South Wales, joining our ever-growing movement of responsible Welsh businesses. 

The commitment to pay the real Living Wage will see everyone working at the University, regardless of whether they are permanent employees or third-party contractors, receive a minimum hourly wage of £9. This is significantly higher than the government minimum wage, which can be as low as £6.15 for those aged 18 to 20. 

Dr Ben Calvert, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of South Wales said: “The University is delighted to formally receive accreditation as a Living Wage employer. Our directly employed staff have enjoyed the Living Wage rate of pay for several years but this now extends our commitment to all those working at the University. USW is hugely committed to an agenda of inclusion, and this accreditation is further testament to that aim.” 

Currently, there are 33 universities UK-wide that are accredited Living Wage Employers and together they have given over £15 million back to low paid workers. These anchor institutions are making a long lasting, positive impact on their communities by paying their staff enough to live on and be able to participate fully in society. However, around 80% of universities are yet to sign up to pay a Living Wage and 5.5 million people across the UK still aren’t earning enough for decent standard of living. 

Wales is home to three of these accredited universities –Cardiff, Aberystwyth, and The Open University in Wales and now welcomes the University of South Wales as the fourth. There are a total of ten universities in Wales – meaning that six are yet to accredit and make the commitment. 

Mick Antoniw, Welsh Labour AM for Pontypridd said: “I’m pleased to see the University of South Wales join other Living Wage universities in Wales. Over 162 employees will benefit from an increase in wages at the university, we want to make sure that all people in Wales get a fair wage for the work they do. This is another positive step in eradicating poverty wages.” 

Several community groups worked with the University on their accreditation and took part in a celebratory action to congratulate the University on their decision to become an accredited Living Wage Employer and the positive effects that this would have on the local economy as the University is such a big employer in the area. This included distributing Living Wage cupcakes throughout the University. 

Peter Lewis, Team Vicar of Pontypridd and a Leader with Citizens Cymru Wales said: “I run a Job Club in Pontypridd and am very aware that employing people at the right level of wages can be critical to the well-being of their household.  Many folk who are looking for cleaning work for example have to carefully balance whether they can afford to undertake that work, so for us to have a significant local employer like the University of South Wales now committed to the Living Wage means that more people in our area will have the opportunity of working for a fair wage.  Congratulations to the University of South Wales for helping our communities into work.” 

Dan Beard, UNISON USW Branch Secretary said“This is good news for all support staff at the University and we thank the University for working with us on this.  We are also appreciative of the leadership shown by the Welsh Government on this and note Kirsty Williams’ call last year for universities to establish a Living Wage sector rapidly.  This is a clear sign of how the proposed Social Partnership Act could function, with trade unions, employers and government working together.” 

Mari Arthur, Director of Cynnal Cymru said: "We are really pleased to have the University of South Wales join Cardiff, Aberystwyth and the Open University in Wales, as Accredited Living Wage Employers.” 

“It is also a firm step forward for Wales to have reached its 200th accreditation. However, we still have a mountain to climb to ensure all people in Wales have fair wages and we are still far behind Scotland with over 1,500 employers and England with over 3,500 living wage accredited employers.” 

“I congratulate the University of South Wales for ensuring their employees and contractors get fair pay for the work they do, I know how much of a difference this can make to so many lives."