True democracy extends beyond the ballot box and concerns the power that working people desire over their everyday lives.
The positive measures in the Trade Union (Wales) Act 2017 show how the Senedd can legislate to improve the rights of workers.
But we still don’t have the power in Wales to extend those rights and ensure a better deal for people at work. Every employee must have the right in their trade union to take part in decision-making on wage and pensions issues; terms and conditions of employment; employment restructuring; and major investment decisions.
More effective legislation should be introduced to stamp out the organised exclusion of trade unionists from employment. It should be lawful for all workers to take collective solidarity action without fear of victimisation and the sack.
In particular, the Senedd should have the power to stop the scourge of low pay.
In Wales, we generally experience lower wage levels than in Britain as a whole — they are even more unequal for women workers — and have a high proportion of employees in part-time and short-term jobs.
Yet, as the Low pay Commission has confirmed, the current regime for enforcing the National Minimum Wage Act is inadequate, especially in particular sectors and for apprentices.
The Welsh government should be given the powers and resources not only to enforce the statutory minimum wage in Wales, but also the option to increase it. This would end the law’s pay discrimination against young workers.
Where Britain-wide collective bargaining is in place and working well, this should be supported — but the power to legislate on these issues must reside in Wales.