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Fair work for Wales

4 June 2019

Large letters spelling out work

A Professor of Employment Relations, a professional business consultant and a research professor from Cardiff University have lent their expertise to a Welsh Government-backed commission on fair work.

Professor Edmund Heery, from Cardiff Business School, and Sharanne Basham-Pyke, Director of Shad Consultancy Ltd and member of the School’s International Advisory Board, joined independent expert adviser Professor Alan Felstead from the School of Social Sciences on the Welsh Government’s Fair Work Commission.

Chaired by Professor Linda Dickens MBE from Warwick Business School, the commission examined a range of legislative, economic and other levers which the Welsh Government can use to drive fair work forward and help make Wales a more equal, fair and just society.

In a series of recommendations, the commission outlined how new standards, setting out what fair work means in practice, should be developed to benefit everyone in Wales.

The commission stipulated, also, that public money should be provided only to organisations who meet these standards or are working towards them.

Professor Dickens said: “Our definition of fair work is where workers are fairly rewarded, heard and represented, secure and able to progress in a healthy, inclusive environment where rights are respected.”

Report cover

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Fair Work Wales

1 March 2019

Report of the fair work commission

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Among the 48 recommendations across eight areas made by the commission, are:

  • Fair work should be the responsibility of all Welsh Government ministers and departments.
  • Public sector bodies should be actively and visibly fair work employers.
  • Inward investors should be fair work organisations.
  • Infrastructure projects and large capital investment projects should be Fair Work Wales projects.
  • Social partnership working, involving trade unions and employers, is central to delivering fair work and the Welsh Government’s proposed Social Partnership Act should reflect the commission’s recommendations.
  • The Welsh Government should implement a strategy to improve the effectiveness of existing rights enforcement in Wales and press the UK government for a stronger state inspection and enforcement regime with deterrent penalties.

Professor Dickens added: “Important and often innovative steps have already been taken in Wales and importantly, the Welsh Government recognises that fair work can help achieve a stronger, modernised and more inclusive economy...”

“This is a real opportunity for Wales to lead the way as a great place in which to live, to work and to invest.”

Professor Linda Dickens MBE, Warwick Business School

Over an accelerated period of six months of investigation, the commission gathered evidence from a series of engagement meetings with businesses, NGOs and social partners like Chwarae Teg among others.

In their roles as commissioners, Professor Heery and Ms Basham-Pyke led a number of these events.

Reflecting on the process, which garnered 60 responses to the call for evidence, Professor Heery said: “Taking part in a commission of this kind exemplifies the School’s public value mission, and indeed, the wider University’s civic mission...”

Edmund Heery

“This type of evidence-based policy-making, informed by academic research submitted by colleagues from Cardiff University and others, is what makes the commission’s recommendations so impactful. Let’s hope that Welsh Government acts on them for the benefit of the economy and society in Wales.”

Professor Edmund Heery, Professor of Employment Relations

Housing and Local Government Minister, Julie James, added: “I am very grateful to Professor Dickens and the whole panel for their effort and commitment; in producing an excellent report in a very short time...”

Julie James - Square

“Their combined extensive background in employment relations and equality has helped produce this comprehensive report, which I will consider very carefully.”

Julie James AM, Housing and Local Government Minister

“We are committed to creating a better working future for everyone in Wales.”

The Fair Work Commission was set up by the previous First Minister Carwyn Jones in 2018.

Read their report, Fair Work Wales, now.

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