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Social Partnerships to Bolster Fair Work in Wales

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Mark DrakefordA new cross-government approach to improving working life in Wales has been outlined by the First Minister.

The ‘social partnership’ approach will build upon engagement with trades unions, employers and organisations through innovative approaches and open dialogue.

It will mean changes to how the Welsh Government allocates public spending and the way goods and services are procured; those who adhere to fair work practices will be favoured, with the aim of driving-up the quality of work and employee’s access to their rights.

New legislation as well as a shared protocol describing the expectations for Welsh Government, the Wales TUC and employers are also being developed.

The new approach follows a Fair Work Commission report in May which advised that new standards setting out what fair work means in practice should be developed to benefit everyone in Wales.

Coinciding with the First Minister’s announcement, the Minister for Local Government and Housing, Julie James, has issued a statement accepting in principle the 48 recommendations of the Commission.

Speaking today, the First Minister said:

Work to eradicate unfair practices, such as false self-employment and compulsory zero hours contracts which have a corrosive effect on the health and well-being of too many people in Wales is a core priority for the Welsh Government. Our drive to introduce Fair Work will be an essential tool to making working life fairer for more people in Wales.

In the wake of the financial crash, Wales responded with distinctive and innovative action, made possible by bringing social partners together. Those talks led to agreements and investment which protected jobs and boosted training. This strength through togetherness is what we’re aiming to emulate here.

We must also be proactive in planning for the implications of a Brexit outcome that threatens jobs and the employment protections that flow from our membership of the European Union.

We recognise a change in culture and new learning will be needed to make fair work a reality for people across Wales but our commitment is clear – we want to maximise our influence to successfully deliver fair work for all.