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Welsh Universities Urged to Pay the Living Wage

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This week, Education Secretary, Kirsty Williams, has voiced her opinions on University wages, feeling all Welsh universities should be paying the living wage.

As part of what she calls a “civic mission”, Williams wants staff to be paid well, feeling changes will make for positive social commentary.

At present, Cardiff University is the only one of Wales’ eight universities to be categorised as a ‘living wage employer’, with many believing that the other eight should follow suit.

That said, the body that represents higher education, Universities Wales, said various institutions “do have pay rates that match the voluntary living wage”, with all vice-chancellors in Wales paid over £200,000 a year; a sum that is in line with salaries across Britain.

The Living Wage Foundation recently announced that an hourly rate of £8.45 was required to match the cost of living. This is a higher than the UK government’s National Living Wage for people aged over 25. This rose to £7.50 this month.

In an annual letter to Hefcw, Mrs Williams requests “rapid progress”, making sure all staff receive at least the living wage. She also says universities should “exercise much greater constraint than has been evident in recent years” when arriving at salaries for senior staff.

“I would hope that universities would see their civic mission as being one that ensures all their staff are paid a proper wage,” Mrs Williams told. 

She added:

“We need those universities to recognise the power that they have within our nation of Wales to do good.

“Yes, to educate people, but to use their power, their resources and their facilities to contribute to the nation as a whole and paying the living wage to all staff is an important way of doing that.”

Gaining the support of Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (Hefcw), the organisation will now be working with Welsh universities to implement these changes.