Unite, the largest union in Wales, has strongly welcomed today’s (Thursday 9 March) announcement by the Welsh government that will eliminate illegal and unethical employment practices on all public sector contracts including in the supply chain.
Mark Drakeford AM, the cabinet secretary for finance and local government, has launched a new ‘Code of Practice for Ethical Employment in Supply Chains’.
The code which was developed by the Workforce Partnership Council with the strong involvement of Unite will revolutionise employment conditions for workers. In particular, companies bidding for public sector work in Wales will be expected to conform to fair work practices and not employ workers on zero hours contracts, via umbrella companies or on false self-employment contracts.
The code includes a commitment that all suppliers should pay workers the ‘Living Wage’.
The code further strengthens the Welsh government’s clear stance on blacklisting. The code of practice contains a commitment to ensure suppliers are not using blacklists and establishes procedures to avoid using companies who have failed to take the issue seriously.
The code also covers modern slavery and provides advice and guidance on how staff can spot and deal with concerns of modern slavery which affects 50 million people worldwide including in the UK and Wales.
Mr Drakeford has said that he expects all public sector bodies in Wales, Welsh businesses and suppliers to the Welsh public sector to sign up the code. In signing up to the code organisations will agree to all of its 12 commitments. The Welsh government spends around £6 billion every year on goods, services and through the supply chain.
Unite in Wales has been at the forefront of campaigning for direct employment regulated by collective agreements for all workers engaged on publicly funded projects. In recent years there has been a steep rise in vulnerable workers being employed via precarious employment practices and bogus self-employment arrangements, through employment agencies.
Unite’s Welsh secretary, Andy Richards, said: “The new code of practice is ground breaking and shows that the Welsh government is entirely committed to stamping out illegal, unfair and exploitative working conditions through Welsh public sector contracts. It strengthens the work the Welsh Government has already done in stamping out blacklisting and cracking down on umbrella companies.
“The code of practice sends a clear and unmissable message to bad bosses, who boost their profits by mistreating workers; you are not welcome in Wales.
“Unite will be monitoring and checking that the code of practice is fully applied and will notify the Welsh government when we identify companies that are breaching the code.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.