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Employment activism on St David’s Day

22 March 2021

Letter, leek and label

Undergraduates from Cardiff University marked St David’s Day, by encouraging employers to commit to best practice in pay, equal opportunities, job security and training as part of a Citizens Cymru Wales initiative.

On their Society and Economy module, led by Dr Deborah Hann and Dr Marcus Gomes, the Cardiff Business School first years organised delivery of 60 leeks to Wales’ most influential employers along with invitations to the Build Back Better Employment Fair on 24 March 2021.

The students, who will also be staffing the online Fair, encouraged recipients to become Real Living Wage accredited employers and support the Community Jobs Compact (CJC).

The CJC aims to bring local people and employers together to tackle poverty, unemployment, and under-representation in the workforce through:

  • Real Living Wage accreditation.
  • Fair recruitment practices, including name- and address-blind CVs and unconscious bias training.
  • Job security, including no compulsion for zero-hours contracts.

The 60 employers contacted were drawn from sectors, including: education, sport, health and social care, media and technology, retail, hospitality, financial services, insurance providers, local authorities and public services.

60+ leeks, letters and labels

Among them were iconic Welsh organisations like Brains, Admiral Insurance and Principality Stadium, as well as big employers in South Wales such as Arup, Legal & General, South Wales Police and Iceland.

Some employers have already committed to meetings with students and community leaders, with others expressing their commitment to signing the CJC.

Dr Deborah Hann, Senior Lecturer in Employment Relations at Cardiff Business School, said: “Our students are the leaders of tomorrow, so we’ve been working with them this semester to develop their leadership skills, so they can affect the change they want to see in our economy and in society too.

“They’ve heard from local community representatives and have seen that whilst Cardiff is prosperous, there’s also great unfairness here...”

“By promoting initiatives like the Real Living Wage and the Community Jobs Compact through this type of action our students are working towards better outcomes for all as we aim to build back better after COVID-19 pandemic.”

Dr Deborah Hann Reader in Employment Relations

The culmination of the students’ work together with Citizens Cymru Wales is a virtual Build Back Better Employment Fair taking place on 24th March 2021. Organisations will be able to drop in between 1-4pm and participate in roundtable discussions, attend question and answer session, and hear stories of success from other employers who have signed up to the campaign for a Real Living Wage and the Community Jobs Compact.

Nirushan Sudarsan, a leader with Citizens Cymru Wales and part of the Butetown Employment Action Team, added: “We’re delighted to be working with students from the Cardiff Business School to tackle employment inequality in Cardiff...”

“By taking action, the students are helping to change the employment conditions for thousands of under-represented people in Cardiff – many of them young, BAME, or from disadvantaged communities.”

Nirushan Sudarsan Citizens Cymru Wales

“The impact of even a few of these employers signing the Jobs Compact or becoming a Real Living Wage Employer is huge.”

The St David’s Day initiative is part of an ongoing relationship between Cardiff Business School and Citizens Cymru Wales, which over the last 18 months has seen the organisations collaborate on a Breakfast Briefing about post-COVID social and economic recovery, community summits across South Wales, and a Christmas-themed community action day. Over 300 undergraduate students have been trained in key skills such as strategy and negotiation, as part of a Public Value Leadership Academy.

Find out more about the campaign for a Real Living Wage and the Community Jobs Compact.

Contact Fiona Meldrum, Community Organiser with Citizens Cymru Wales to attend the Build Back Better Employment Fair on 24 March 2021:


T: 07391 559 701

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