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Julie James, Leader of the House and Chief Whip

First published:
31 July 2018
Last updated:

In April the First Minister announced his intention to take steps to establish a Fair Work Commission; a small independent panel of experts to take forward the initial work of the Fair Work Board which was to scope the available evidence and key practices impacting on Fair Work.

As chair of the Fair Work Board I am very grateful to the Board, whose members were drawn from the tripartite Social Partner Strategy Group: the Wales TUC, the CBI and the FSB and included Cerys Furlong, Chief Executive of Chwarae Teg for their initial contributions.

The Fair Work Board provided me with a forum for early dialogue on the development of Fair Work. It made good initial progress in identifying the evidence gaps and the levers currently available to Welsh Government to promote and drive Fair Work across Wales and was a source of good advice in helping to test our initial thinking.

As the Minister responsible for Fair Work I am very pleased to announce that the Fair Work Commission, a Welsh Government Ministerial body, will be chaired by Professor Linda Dickens MBE, Emeritus Professor of Industrial Relations at the University of Warwick.

A senior academic with an excellent national and international reputation in the field of employment relations, Linda has a demonstrable track record in the practical application of her knowledge and expertise across the public and private sectors, including through a number of public appointments.

An experienced labour disputes arbitrator, mediator and inquiry chair, Linda was until recently a Deputy Chair of the Central Arbitration Committee and served on the Council of ACAS. Her current appointments include non-Executive Board Member of the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority.

Linda will be joined by:

Sharanne Basham-Pyke, Director of Shad Consultancy Ltd providing professional business advice and change management to the private, public and third sectors. She also is CEO of Talkflow a start-up software business and has a portfolio career as a Business Angel to a number of small businesses with a common theme – the desire to grow. Sharanne’s background is the corporate world, joining BT in 1999 from a background in management consultancy.

Edmund Heery, originally from Liverpool was educated at the universities of Cambridge and Essex and the London School of Economics. Since 1996 he has been Professor of Employment Relations at Cardiff Business School. Professor Heery is an expert on work and employment in the UK and has published research on trade unions, employers’ organizations and the role of civil society in promoting fairness of work. His most recent research has examined the UK’s voluntary Living Wage, including its adoption within Wales.

Sarah Veale CBE retired as Head of Equality and Employment Rights at the TUC in 2015. At the TUC Sarah was responsible for the organisation’s work on equality and trade union and employment rights. Until January 2017 she was a Board member at the Equality and Human Rights Commission. She is a member of the Regulatory Policy Committee, which provides independent assessment of Government regulatory and de-regulatory proposals. Sarah is a non-Executive Director of the United Kingdom Accreditation Service. She is a visiting fellow at the Greenwich University Business School and a Vice Chair of the Equality and Diversity Forum. Sarah is a Vice President of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. In the past Sarah was a member of the ACAS Council and the HSE Board. Sarah was awarded the CBE in 2006 for services to diversity. In 2012 Sarah was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Laws by Oxford Brookes University.

The Commission will be supported by Professor Alan Felstead as the Commission’s Independent Expert Adviser. Professor Felstead is Research Professor at the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University. His research focuses on skills, training and various aspects of job quality. He has generated research income of £7.3 million and has produced over 200 publications. Based on research evidence he has given independent expert advice to government departments such as the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and agencies such as the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, the Government Office for Science, and the Office for National Statistics.

The Terms of Reference of the Commission are:

“On the basis of evidence and analysis the Commission is to make recommendations to promote and encourage fair work in Wales.

The Commission will develop indicators and measures of fair work and Identify data sources to help monitor progress. It will consider whether measures to promote fair work currently available to the Welsh government could be taken further and identify what new or additional steps might be taken, including new legislation, and make recommendations.

The Commission is to start work in July 2018 and report by March 2019.”

This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.