Welsh minister addresses UNISON conference

Welsh Assembly leader of the house and government chief whip, Jane Hutt, will address a fringe event at UNISON’s annual conference in Brighton tomorrow (Thursday).

Jane will describe how the Welsh government is improving wages and working conditions for those in the UK and around the world by ensuring that only companies paying decent wages and with fair employment conditions win Welsh public sector contracts, valued at £6bn a year.

The fringe event, Dying for a Living: The Plight of Workers in Global Supply Chains, will be chaired by Welsh ambulance worker and UNISON national executive member, Angela Roberts. Other guest speakers include president of the Bangladesh garment workers’ union, Salauddin Shapon, and Sam Maher of the Clean Clothes Campaign.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Globalisation has forced down wages and eroded employees’ rights. UNISON is at the heart of challenging this race to the bottom. Employers have a duty to ensure that not only are their directly-employed staff protected but that workers in their supply chains also have a right to decent work and pay.

“The Labour government in Wales deserves a great deal of credit for setting an example to the rest of the UK and using its purchasing power to drive up employment conditions and wages in its supply chains in the UK and abroad. These ethical employment standards should be enshrined in law.”


Notes to editors

  • The fringe event Dying for a Living: The Plight of Workers in Global Supply Chains, is on Thursday 22 June, 12.45 – 13.45 in the Brighton conference centre, Syndicate room 2.
  • The Welsh government published a code of practice last month Ethical Employment in Supply Chainsthat commits public, private and third sector organisations to tackling illegal and unfair employment practices.
  • All organisations that receive funding from the Welsh Government, either directly or via grants or contracts, will be expected to sign up to the code. Other organisations in Wales are encouraged to sign up.
  • According to the code, the Welsh public sector spends around £6bn every year on goods, services and works involving international supply chains.
  • The new UNISON briefing, Responsible buying in public services, will also be launched at the fringe event giving guidance on working with employers to embed ethical procurement in all contracts.
  • UNISON ensures all its procurement is ethical and it is the first trade union to make a statement under the modern slavery act. UNISON is committed to ensuring there is no modern slavery or human trafficking within any part of its business or supply chains.
  • In 2015, 134 potential victims of slavery were reported in Wales. This is a 91 per cent increase on the previous year and represents 4 per cent of all UK referrals. Using International Labour Organisation figures, the Human Trafficking Foundation says that there are more people in slavery today across the world, than in the entire 350 year history of the transatlantic slave trade.


Alastair Gittins, UNISON Press Officer on 07816 538397.