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Y Pwyllgor Cydraddoldeb, Llywodraeth Leol a Chymunedau

Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee

25/04/2018

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Bethan Sayed AM
Gareth Bennett AM
Jack Sargeant AM
Janet Finch-Saunders AM
Jenny Rathbone AM
John Griffiths AM Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair
Sian Gwenllian AM

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

Dilwyn Roberts-Young Is-ysgrifennydd Cyffredinol, UCAC
Deputy General Secretary, UCAC
Jenny Griffin Trefnydd Ardal, Unsain
Area Organiser, Unison
Sarah Rees Cyfarwyddwr, Career Women Wales
Director, Career Women Wales

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Chloe Davies Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Elizabeth Wilkinson Ail Glerc
Second Clerk
Hannah Johnson Ymchwilydd
Researcher
Jennifer Cottle Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:16.

The meeting began at 09:16.

1. Cyflwyniad, Ymddiheuriadau, Dirprwyon a Datgan Buddiannau
1. Introductions, Apologies, Substitutions and Declarations of Interest

Welcome, everyone, to this meeting of the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee. The first item on our agenda is introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest. We've received one apology today from Rhianon Passmore. Are there any declarations of interest? No.

2. Ymchwiliad i Feichiogrwydd, Mamolaeth a Gwaith yng Nghymru: Sesiwn Dystiolaeth 4
2. Inquiry into Pregnancy, Maternity and Work in Wales: Evidence Session 4

In that case, we will move on to item 2, the continuation of our inquiry into pregnancy, maternity and work in Wales and our evidence session 4. I'm very pleased to welcome this morning Sarah Rees, director of Career Women Wales. Welcome, Sarah.

Sarah, I wonder whether I might begin questions and then other Members will follow on. Firstly, I wonder if you could give us an overview of your own experience of maternity discrimination—basically what went wrong and how it might have been avoided.

Yes, sure. It was following the birth of my first child, which is now nearly five years ago. There were warning signs that came that I ignored, and if I'd had more sleep then maybe I would have recognised them as more than that, rather than just putting them away. It was things like being removed from the list of staff on the website when I had a look at what was going on in the organisation, because no-one was getting in touch with me when I contacted them. I was e-mailing my boss and my colleagues, saying, 'I'd like to come and see you. I'd like to talk about when I can come back', and I wasn't getting any response. I e-mailed my boss numerous times and didn't have anything from her. When I did get really concerned, I sent her a text message, and her response was to talk to someone else in my team. I didn't want to talk to a colleague; I wanted to talk to my boss, and she should have responded to me, but she didn't. She just wanted to fob me off. In the end, it was a trustee of the organisation who called me up and said, 'I felt that there was something not quite right when I was listening to them discussing your redundancy in a committee meeting.' She said that she had the feeling I didn't know anything about it, which I didn't, and that really shouldn't have happened.

I did raise a grievance against my employer, and it almost became an issue that was tit for tat. I'd say something that I was upset with, so they came up with issues against me. I couldn't even go to my own grievance meeting, actually, because they were holding it in a London office; they wouldn't hold it in Cardiff. They said they couldn't afford for me to take someone with me who could look after my new baby, who I was breastfeeding, so that I could attend the meeting in London, and I didn't feel that I wanted to leave her so young, when I was a new mum, and disappear off to something quite stressful on my own for the day. Even that didn't cut it for me. This was a large charity that I knew had over £4 million of reserves in the bank, but they couldn't afford a train ticket for me to take someone with me. These are just behaviours that showed me that I didn't want to be employed by this company anymore, so I accepted the redundancy that they offered.

Okay. So, was it a case, when you were on maternity leave, Sarah, of this phenomenon of being out of sight, out of mind because you're not in the workplace, or not in the workplace regularly anymore, that communication tends to be difficult, and there isn't an effort by the company to maintain contact and make it clear that you're still part of the organisation? Was it that sort of scenario?

09:20

Definitely. One of the issues that I really raised in my grievance procedure was that there was no communication and no plan beforehand as to how I wanted the company to communicate with me, and that's something I've talked to other people about, and other organisations about, and it should be very clear that every organisation should say to a mother, before she goes on leave, 'What is it that you want us to communicate with you? How do you want us to stay in touch with you?' I know of women who don't hear about promotions that they could have gone for because they're not looking at their e-mail all the time. All it takes is someone to say once a week, 'This is what's going on', if that's what a mother wants. They should be putting that process in place before the person goes off on maternity leave.

I see. Okay, thanks very much for that. So, one further question from me. We found that there's a disconnect, really, in the findings of an Equality and Human Rights Commission survey, where they found that 87 per cent of employers felt that it is in the best interests of organisations to support pregnant women and those on maternity leave, but 71 per cent of mothers reported negative or discriminatory experiences. So, there seems to be a mismatch between the two, really, in terms of what employers say their approach and their understanding is and what is actually the experience of employees in that situation. Would you have any views on why there seems to be that contrast and what lies behind it?

I think it's down to simple things like it's up to people. I was talking to someone on my way here, actually, and they said that some employers will happily accept people who want to come back part-time. Other employers don't like it. When I say 'employer', it's not particularly the employer who might be responding to this survey for an organisation—it's down to a manager. If you ask your manager, if you want to go on a part-time contract, and they're not a fan of part-time or job shares, then you can be refused. Whereas another manager might think it's fine. It shouldn't be down to someone's opinion or a personality that your manager—. It should be down to a process within the organisation that's followed.

I see. So, what might be the policy at the top might not actually be implemented by those managers further down the organisational hierarchy.

Definitely. I also think it's workplace attitudes. Quite often, a lot of us can put our hands up and say that we're guilty of looking at people and saying, 'Oh, you're not working so hard because we don't see you all the time.' It shouldn't be about presenteeism. If someone's working till 8 o'clock at night, it doesn't mean they're working harder than someone who leaves at 4.00 p.m. because they have to go and collect their child. Quite often, that person is fitting more into their day because they know that their day has to be compacted, and we need to get away from this attitude of presenteeism, really.

Yes, I see. Okay, Sarah. Thanks for that. We'll move on, then, to some questions from Bethan Sayed.

Rwyf i'n mynd i siarad Cymraeg. Rydych chi wedi siarad amdano fe yn barod, i ryw raddau, ond roeddwn i jest eisiau cael mwy o grasp ar a ydych chi'n credu mai diffyg ymwybyddiaeth o'r gyfraith sydd ar waith yma, neu a yw e'n rhywbeth systemataidd o ran diwylliant. Neu a oes yna ddiffyg rhannu gwybodaeth rhwng rheolwyr? Felly, mae lot o dystiolaeth yr ydym wedi'i chael lle y mae pobl yn cael gwahanol brofiadau—profiadau gwych gan rai rheolwyr ond profiadau gwael iawn gyda rheolwyr eraill. Beth ydych chi'n credu yw gwraidd y broblem?

I'm going to be asking my questions in Welsh. You've spoken about it already, to some extent, but I just wanted to get more of a grasp on whether you think that it's a lack of awareness of the law that's behind this, whether it's something systematic in terms of culture, or whether there's a lack of sharing of information between managers. We've received a great deal of evidence where people have different experiences—excellent experiences from some managers or poor experiences with other managers. What do you think is at the root of this problem?

It's a mixture of all the things you've said, really. I think it quite often is down to the personality of a manager and what they feel they are happy with in their department. Yes, I think it's still so complicated. We don't view care work as valuable work, as a society. It's not just about the workplace and people—managers—within a workplace. I think that society needs to value care much higher, and then maybe they'd have more of an understanding about how parents have to juggle their time between being at work and doing other things.

Ond pam ydych chi'n credu mai dyna'r achos? Achos mae lot o reolwyr, rwy'n siŵr, yn famau neu'n dadau, sydd â chyfrifoldebau eu hunain? Beth ydych chi'n credu sydd yn arwain at ddiffyg dealltwriaeth neu ddeall ar lefel emosiynol, efallai, beth mae'r person yna'n mynd drwyddo?

Why do you believe that that's the case? Because a lot of managers, I'm sure, are mothers or fathers who have their own caring responsibilities? What do you think leads to the lack of understanding or understanding on an emotional level, even, what that person is going through?

09:25

I think we still live in an age where we accept that mothers have to suck it up and take the hit to their careers. In my personal case, I felt anxious with my second child recently, and I had a visit from my health visitor. I said to her that it wasn't anything to do with my baby—he's a boisterous child, but it wasn't particularly that—it was that I desperately wanted to go back to work and I simply couldn't afford it because it would cost me £100 a day in childcare. I said that that's what was upsetting me, that I'd lost my independence and I'd lost my job and all the benefits that come with it, like holidays and having a lunch break—you know, those little things that you don't get as a stay-at-home parent. And she just said, 'Well, that's the lot of a mother.' We're in 2018 and the lot of a mother is that she cannot go to work because she has to suck it up and look after her children, because childcare is just too expensive for us to warrant working. And that's the case for so many people. You've got to earn £50,000 to be able to pay for childcare for two children and have something in your pocket at the end of the month.

Rwy'n credu ein bod ni'n dod ymlaen at gwestiynau am ofal plant yn benodol, so, ni wnaf fynd i mewn i hynny. Ond, rydym wedi cael tystiolaeth yr wythnos diwethaf ynglŷn â'r ffaith bod cynnig wedi cael ei roi gan rai o'r tystion a ddaeth yma i awdurdodau cyhoeddus, busnesau ac elusennau sy'n derbyn cyllid gan Lywodraeth Cymru i adrodd ar gyfraddau cadw ar gyfer staff sydd yn rhieni. Rwy'n credu yr oedd yn benodol ar gyfer staff sydd yn rhieni sydd yn dod nôl ar ôl cyfnod o feichiogrwydd. So, roeddwn i'n 'wonder-an' os oeddet ti'n meddwl y byddai data o'r fath yn helpu. Achos, rydym ni ar ddeall, anecdotally, fod drop-off wedyn o bobl sydd yn cael swyddi o fewn blwyddyn o fynd nôl—rhywbeth fel yna.

I think we're coming on to questions about childcare specifically, so I won't go into that. But, we received evidence last week about the fact that a proposal has been put forward by some of the witnesses who came here for public authorities, businesses and charities receiving funding from the Welsh Government to report on retention rates for staff who are parents. I think it was specifically related to staff who are parents who return after a period of maternity. So, I wondered whether you think that data of that kind would assist. Because, as we understand it, anecdotally, there is a drop-off, then, in terms of people who receive posts within a year of leaving—something like that.

Definitely. I think there's so much that could be done. Why don't we have a benchmark scheme for parent-friendly workplaces? There are other really successful benchmark schemes like the Stonewall scheme. If, as a parent, you knew that an employer was particularly good towards parents, then you would be able to choose your work more appropriately to your setting and that would then prove to employers that you can still be a great parent and that you can juggle family and the workplace and be very successful.

A ydy hynny'n gweithio'n dda? Achos, nid ydym eisiau creu rhywbeth sydd jest yn mynd i fod yn ymarfer tick-box ychwanegol. A ydych chi'n meddwl byddai hynny'n gallu gweithio'n ymarferol hefyd?

Is that working well? Because we don't want to create something that's just going to be a tick-box exercise in addition. Do you think that that could work practically?

Definitely. There are lots of organisations that really celebrate the fact that they're high in the Stonewall scheme, so surely, they would work hard to celebrate that they were a parent-friendly organisation too. There are quite a lot of other simple things. If you look at gender pay gap reporting, why isn't it broken down further? It could gather data on the retention of parents in the workplace quite simply. And then we'd know what organisations don't want to retain parents and then we'd do something to change it.

Clearly, there's a very important role for trade unions in all this and I just wanted to ask you whether you were a member of a trade union when you were in the organisation that treated you so badly.

Gosh, I wish I was. That's one of my biggest regrets. I thought that working for one of the country's biggest women's organisations, when I wanted to have a child I'd be supported. So, I stupidly didn't join a trade union, and I really wish I had.

Was there a trade union presence in that organisation?

Well, I suppose I could've looked one up myself, but—

Okay, but there was nobody who was a shop steward, because that's what you need, when you're coming back to work, the employer needs reminding that these are the things—

Yes, and even when it came down to my grievance, I wanted to take someone with me who was someone, separately, whom I knew and had been supporting me through the process and they said I was only allowed someone from within the workplace to go with me. Well, all of my colleagues in the workplace were ignoring my e-mails when I'd contacted them previously. So, why would I want to ask any of them to support me when, obviously, they didn't even want to talk to me?

Well, they probably didn't want the same treatment that you got.

No, exactly. And trade unions, you look at the TUC, for example, they support parents in their workplace by giving them at least 40 per cent towards their childcare costs. You know, what a brilliant employer. When I mention that to other people, they can't believe that something as amazing as that happens—that an employer gives them money towards their childcare because they know it's the only way they can afford to keep doing their job.

09:30

Sarah, could you tell the committee a little bit about the difficulties you think women face when searching for a job, having had a child?

There are two major problems when it comes to looking for work. There's the sheer lack of part-time and flexible jobs, and childcare is obviously one of the biggest. One of the reasons I set up Career Women Wales was because, when I started to look for a job after being made redundant, it became a full-time job to look for a part-time job, because it's so difficult to find them—they are quite few and far between—to find an organisation that will say that a job can be done part-time or as a job share. And that's something that really needs to change.

Good morning, I'm really enjoying your evidence. I think it ties in with the fundamental reasons why we started this inquiry. Do you believe women have sufficient access to advice and information about their rights at work during pregnancy and maternity leave? Could this be provided in different settings, like health appointments?

I don't think I'd want to burden a health appointment with extra things like that.

No, in terms of giving you leaflets, making sure you're aware of the rights that you have.

I don't think there is enough support. I was lucky to have someone who had previously worked as a union rep who was a friend that helped me in my case. The other thing that I did is I looked up online and I found Maternity Action. I tried endless times to get through to the helpline, and it's only open for two hours at a time, three to four days a week, and it even states on their website, 'Keep trying, because we know we're inundated with calls and it's really difficult get through.' Well, if it's really difficult to get through, then that's telling us that there's a real problem and there needs to be more support for things like a helpline. I think, since the time of my particular case, the Pregnant Then Screwed organisation has been formed and they have quite a lot—

Pregnant Then Screwed.

Yes, and it was set up by a mum who was screwed by her employer after she was pregnant and lost her job. They've had endless stories of women who have gone through this, and just the ability to be able to tell their story has helped hundreds of thousands of women. They've done so much. They've got an advice line that's supported by a legal firm; they've got a flexible working helpline; and they've also got a mentoring service, so that if you are going through a case and you do want to take it to tribunal, they can match you with a mentor who can support you.

Do you think there's a huge difference between the private sector, the public sector and the voluntary sector in terms of employment within those if you decide to become pregnant, or if you are of an age where you may have had a baby and, potentially, they're worried that if you've had one, you might have another?

In my particular case, I was working in the voluntary sector, and people think the voluntary sector can be a lovely, fluffy place. In reality, it can be quite the opposite. For me, working for a large women's organisation—their members were fighting for the rights that I didn't have, and if they'd looked inside and supported me in the way that they ask other businesses and organisations to act, then they wouldn't have done to me what they did. I think a lot of that can be down to things like funding. People are often stressed that they aren't going to keep their job because the fund that covers the post might disappear, so they can be a bit more ruthless in jumping over other people who are vulnerable, like pregnant women, or women on maternity leave, who are outside of the workplace for a period of time, who totally lose any communication, and it's easy to be jumped over so that someone else can get a job, which is what happened in my position.

So, do you think, here in Wales, it's seen as a lifestyle choice, if you have a baby?

Yes. Ever since sharing my story, I've had some brilliant responses from people; I've also had people saying, 'Well, it's your choice to have had a child, so just shut up and put up, basically.' You know, 'You shouldn't have had kids.' And when I talk about things like childcare, the attitude is, 'Why should my taxes go towards paying for your children?' Why should the investment in my child who's going to go on and earn money, pay for someone's pension when they're elderly, or their healthcare? It's just a lack of—

09:35

Yes, I think we've covered No. 7. We touched on business support, advice and procurement. 

Is there anything, Sarah, you would add in terms of flexible working arrangements that employers might provide that would be helpful?

That small employers can afford, because we were looking at small businesses and things. It's a huge difference to a big company. 

It could be quite simple. Why aren't we asking all employers to have every job as flexible by default? As human beings, we don't like change, and this is change that people will find a reason to put off and say that things can't be done. If we had a checklist that said, 'If a job fits this checklist, then it can be flexible' then that would be a revolution for mothers looking for work, for any parent looking to work flexibly. If they had the opportunity to apply for the majority of jobs out there, rather than a minority that are normally lower paid, there'd be a revolution in employment. 

Okay. Thanks for that, Sarah. We will move on then to Gareth Bennett.

Thanks for coming in, Sarah. It's been very interesting. I think one of the problems you're up against is managers because managers like to manage things and this can create endless difficulties. But, anyway, do you have a view on how fathers or partners can be better supported to take on responsibility for childcare?

Yes. I think that, quite often, fathers are still seen as the main breadwinner in the majority of families, and there's still a myth that we can survive on a single income when the majority of families can't afford to do that anymore. I'm a feminist, I'm a proud supporter of the Women's Equality Party, and when I was on maternity leave, people were saying—. When I was pregnant, sorry, people said to me, 'Well, you of all people should be considering that you want shared parental leave.' Shared parental leave, when I'm in a precarious job where I don't know what my income is going to be from month to month, and my husband's in a job that, luckily, will pay our mortgage and keep our bills covered—why should we have taken him out of his job to go down to £100 a week and then live on my precarious income? It's just not something that families can choose. Why would you choose to put yourself in a financially difficult, stressful position? If fathers had six weeks non-transferable paternity leave that was at 90 per cent of their salary, equal to what mothers have, then you'd see a huge increase in it. 

A friend of mine lives in Norway. He has to take a certain amount of paternity leave, and it meant that parenting in their household is much more shared. If we supported fathers in this way, then parenting would be much more equal. 

Ie, ddim i danseilio'r pwynt yna, ond beth wnaethom ei glywed wythnos diwethaf oedd efallai na fyddai tadau yn cymryd y siawns honno oherwydd y ffaith eu bod nhw'n gweld—. Efallai, os byddai'r un peth yn digwydd â'r gwledydd Llychlynnaidd, yna ffein, rwy'n cymryd y pwynt. Ond beth roeddem ni'n ei glywed oedd bod dynion yn edrych ar sut mae menywod yn cael eu trin, ac nid oedd dim diddordeb ganddynt wedyn achos roedden nhw'n meddwl, 'Wel, os rwy'n mynd bant o'r gwaith, wedyn rwy'n mynd i gael fy nhrin yr un peth.' Felly, rwy'n deall bod y pethau yma'n digwydd yn dda iawn mewn rhai gwledydd, ac rwyf wedi gweld e fy hun, ond mae'n rhaid i ni wneud lot mwy rwy'n credu—nid wyf yn gwybod os wyt ti'n cytuno—i newid y diwylliant gyda dynion, iddyn nhw feddwl bod hyn yn rhywbeth iddyn nhw hefyd. 

Yes, not to undermine that point, but what we heard last week is that perhaps fathers wouldn't take that opportunity because of the fact that they see—. Perhaps, if the same thing happened as in the Scandinavian countries, then yes, fine, I take that point. But what we heard was that men look at how women are treated and they just didn't have any interest in that, because they think, 'Well, if I leave work, then I'm going to be treated in the same way.' So, I understand that these things happen very well in other countries, and I've seen it myself, but we do have to do much more, I think—I don't know if you agree—to change the culture with men, so that they think that this is something for them as well. 

Why are we making it a choice, so that they can choose not to be discriminated against? My friend that I was talking about who lives in Norway, we were in the pub talking about it, and he said to me, 'Oh, I can't believe I've got to take another three months off work' because he knew the damage it would do to his career. Whereas if it happens to everyone, then we're all going to equally see that this shouldn't be happening to anybody, whether you're male or female. 

Yes, it has to be taken. I know a lot of people, including my husband, who it's seen that you would only take one week of paternity leave, and maybe a week of annual leave, and then you need to get back to your job. And that's really difficult. And it isn't just things like that. We did a march last year with Pregnant Then Screwed to talk about maternity discrimination and raise it as an issue, and one father said that he took all the paternity leave that he had when his baby was born, and it was quite difficult because he had to go back to work before his baby came out of hospital, because it had an illness. So, he didn't get any time at home with his child, and he really, really wanted more, but they simply couldn't afford to do it. Imagine that—imagine not seeing your child come home out of hospital because you had to go back to work. This isn't just something that's unfair to mothers, it's unfair to fathers too.

09:40

Just a small one on that. How do you answer what some people would say about that kind of situation—that it would mitigate against breastfeeding mothers, because it's only the mother who can do the breastfeeding?

As long as there's a place and time that a woman can breastfeed at work, then it's doable. When I had my first child, I was a trustee for an organisation, and she was, I'd say, 10 or 12 weeks old, when I had to go and interview new staff for that organisation. I spent a whole day interviewing, I had someone looking after my child, and I had a room in the office that we were interviewing where, between every interview, I went and pumped milk, because otherwise I knew that I'd have quite a wet situation, and it was doable, and it was fine. And that's something that can be done. When you look at the longer term, I'd much prefer to be uncomfortable and have to disappear to pump some milk than to then spend the next two to three years not having a job, not having a pension, and knowing that I'm going to have to probably start much further down the line than I was in my career. I can juggle a bit of messiness, and a slight discomfort, rather than knowing in my old age I'm probably not going to have a pension of my own.

Thanks, Sarah. We move, then, to some questions from Jack Sargeant.

Thank you, Chair, and welcome, Sarah. It's really great that you've actually started and established Career Women Wales, but it's also a shame that you had to do that, and that that support wasn't there; I'm assuming that support wasn't there for you. But just before I move on to the questions, it's actually interesting, that, because I know someone—a dad—who, the company he worked for, they actually reduced his hours, so he could have the Friday off, which seems great, but actually that took a toll on his career path as well, and he had to actually leave that company after a couple of years of doing that, because it did take a toll. So, I think there are a lot of good things, but it is a mass culture change. And I spoke on Friday night, at our conference, about a culture change, and if we can start changing culture, we can do a lot more with that, rather than just introducing policies and procedures—it is a mass culture change. But it is great that you've established Career Women Wales, and I'd just like to know whether you think the careers advice offered to parents is sufficiently tailored to help women, more specifically entering and/or returning to work after having a child, and how you think that could be improved.

No, I don't think that Careers Wales is sufficient to anyone over the age of 25, to be quite blunt with you. I think that it's really great for people who are at the start of their careers, but if you're mid-career, or you want to change a career, then there's much less support. To be a woman and walk into a careers centre where there's a lot of 16 to 18-year-olds, when you're already at a disadvantage because you've lost your confidence, or you've lost your job, it's not something that many mothers want to do. I've looked at the Careers Wales website in my own personal capacity, when I was looking for work, and I've looked at it recently, just as a refresher, because I knew that this question would possibly arise. There's no support on the Careers Wales website that's tailored specifically to women or mum returners. There are a couple of very generalised pages on their website that talk about improving job prospects, retraining, how to understand the job market—it's slightly patronising to someone in my position. What they don't talk about also is the major barriers for mums—flexible working. Why do I have to go to a phoneline that's been set up by a charity to talk about flexible working? Why isn't Careers Wales enabling the conversation about how to talk to an employer about flexible working? It doesn't even mention the Parents, Childcare and Employment programme, which is set up to support mums to return to work. Why isn't that simple thing being joined up? If, moving away from Careers Wales, you look at the PaCE programme, I looked at that locally and I sent an e-mail to enquire about it and the response I had was that the e-mail doesn't work. Also, things like that are precarious because they're funded by European money.

09:45

Thank you for that. It seems that there is potentially stuff out there that just doesn't work, so that really needs to be looked at. Moving on to self-employed mothers, how can the Welsh Government's employability programmes and business advice support self-employed mothers—or do they?

It doesn't do it particularly well in my personal experience. I had some really brilliant things. When I wanted to set up a business, I had a bursary from Chwarae Teg, which gave me six months of office space and support in other things that I needed, so that I could talk to them about finance, I could talk to them about setting up a website and other things that I wanted to do. And what that brought me was, it said to my family: 'She isn't a 'mumpreneur' doing a project from the kitchen table, while the kids are hanging around her feet. She's going to a workplace and she's being taken seriously.' So, it's not only being taken seriously by family, who rallied around to support with childcare, I was also taken much more seriously by clients.

What was difficult was things like—I knew that there was a scheme available that would give you a little bit of money when you were setting up a business, but you had to go through the employment service to do it. So, I went to my local jobcentre and went through all the questions and through the stress of being quite demeaned and having my small child crawling across the place, while I was trying to go through quite a stressful interview, and their attitude was, 'Why do you even want to come and sign on, because you don't have to work until your child is five, so why are you here?' When I eventually managed to get through and apply to the scheme—I can't remember the name of it, sorry, but I can give you that later—I went and had an interview with the person who ran the scheme in Cardiff, and I could tell you more about his work history than he could probably tell you about my business idea. He was patronising. He told me that it was really great that I wanted to set up the business that I wanted to do, because the only women he'd seen through the scheme locally were women who were doing nails or hair. This just isn't good enough.

When I had a meeting with Business Wales, that, again, was an issue, and they had a checklist of things that they said I couldn't access: I wasn't under 30, I wasn't a recent graduate, I didn't live in a convergence area, so there wasn't much they could do to help. I told them that my biggest barrier to getting my business off the ground was childcare, because when you have no money and you're starting a business, £50 per child is a lot of money per day. They said that childcare was there to support me going on a course so that I could write a business plan. I reminded them that I'd given them my quite decent business plan and they went, 'Oh yeah', and they flicked though it, which showed me that they obviously hadn't read it, and as they flicked through it, they realised that I didn't need a training course on how to write a business plan and so they wished me luck, and that was it—that was my support.

One question I've had recently is—. There's a lot of Government support going towards things like the entrepreneurship hubs that are across the country and none of them support any childcare. If you had an entrepreneurship hub that had some sort of subsidised childcare on hand, you'd have a lot of mothers taking advantage of it.

Thanks very much. Sarah, we will move on, then, to childcare, and Siân Gwenllian.

Mae'n amlwg fod gofal plant yn allweddol i'r maes yma. Mae gan Lywodraeth Cymru y cynnig gofal plant newydd. Beth ydy eich barn chi ynglŷn â'r cynnig sydd yn cael ei rowlio allan ar hyn o bryd?

It's clear that childcare is key in this area. The Welsh Government has this new childcare offer. What are your views on that offer that's being rolled out at the moment?

It's too late. By the age of three, most women have spent three years out of the workplace and that's if you have one child. It's brilliant from age three, but by then, you've already built up these huge barriers that you've got to try and overcome to find a job in the first instance. We should be supporting mums with childcare from nine months, when paid maternity leave comes to an end, because then it means they can continue in their employment rather than have to build up that brick wall of leaving a job and then having to try and find a new one. There are so many questions about it. I think there's a sheer inequality.

I truly understand there's got to be a really good pilot of the scheme, but I know mums who've had access to this scheme for already a year and yet we're looking at others who are not going to get it. We're looking at at least £80 a week per family, that's with one child aged three. So, some families will have had that for years and other families won't have had it at all. Imagine the disparity of that. Imagine if you've got a mum in Caerphilly who's able to go to work and continue working and then you've got a mum in the Vale who has to leave her job and leave all the rights that she has with that—like being able to pay off a student loan, pay towards her family income, remain with some independence, have a pension. You know, you're looking at that sheer inequality. That's at the bigger end of the scale; there are so many other issues and concerns with that childcare offer. Sorry—it's something that's really important to me so I'm quite passionate about it.

The communication and clarity as to how the offer will be made up—I think a lot of families aren't clear on what is childcare, what is early years education. When the Government talk about the childcare offer, they're not talking about a childcare offer; they're talking about a combined offer of early years education and childcare, which is very different. Early years education is a minefield in itself. I found more information on my local mums group on Facebook on how to apply for a place in a nursery than I did through my local council's website. That's where most mums will go to for support; they'll go to each other because they know that every local authority is very different.

You think you're going to save some money with early years education; you're not when you add up the cost of uniform and school trips and snack money and wraparound care. Is it going to provide the cost—? in my particular case, for example, my daughter who is four goes to an early years education setting and then we pay £12 for her to transfer from that setting to a paid private nursery and then you pay an afternoon session. Will this childcare cover that service? I don't know if that's been communicated or discussed. Will they only pay for the care or will they pay for the collection and wraparound as well, which is quite costly? Otherwise, you'll see parents who do have to do this in some cases where there isn't wraparound available—you know, they'll drop their child at nine, they'll go to work, they'll then have to leave at 11 so that they can pick up their child and take them to another nursery setting, and that becomes so costly and difficult with an employer that they leave their job. That's just one of many issues.

I've had people say to me that they're confused. If they're eligible for these 30 hours when a child is three, how does it fit with early years education? So, if the child turns three in April, they will more than likely get an early years education place in September. So, that's quite a big chunk of time when they won't get anything. Will they get the 30 hours in another setting between that time? You know, that's another question that people have that hasn't been answered. 

We look at family support for caring. Lots of people in Wales, to enable them to go back to work, they have the support of their family and yet we're not going to value this essential care by paying someone to look after their own family member. They could look after four children and get paid for two but they wouldn't get paid for the other two that they could be related to. So, a parent, to make financial sense, is going to take those children away from their family member and put them in with someone else purely so that they can make a living and earn a crust at the end of the day. It just doesn't make sense to me. It's only open, as far as I'm aware, to people who work a particular number of hours of earn a particular salary. That's not very good for people on zero-hours contracts who don't know, month to month, how many hours they're going to work. It doesn't work for self-employed parents, who, whilst they're trying to make a living, more than likely, in so many cases, are working for below the minimum wage. So, they're not going to earn enough to warrant being eligible for the scheme.

I can keep going on if you'd like me to.

09:55

No, that's fine. Obviously, there's a problem with the communication and people not understanding how all this is all going to work out. But given, I'm sure, what the Government would say, 'These are austere times and we've only got a certain amount of money, so there's £100 million for this scheme', how would you think that that money could be better spent then? You've talked about maybe targeting the younger years. Would it be better to go for younger children?

In my view we need to cover it all; it needs to be universal.

Yes, I know that. Well, I agree with you, but also I'm a realist; I understand there's only a certain amount of money at the moment. So, how do you think it could be better targeted? Say you were the Minister and you had to actually make decisions and you had to target it in a certain way—.

I would potentially take money from construction and invest it in care. And if we valued care more, there'd be more money coming into the economy. There are stats that I can provide you with that show the huge impact that could be had if we invest in care, if we invest in childcare. Dylan's Den, I think, is a really good example that should be looked at. They invested in childcare in Merthyr and it brought £1 million into the local economy. If we're investing in mums being able to work, then those mums are paying taxes that are invested in our economy and they have money that they can spend in the local economy.

Yes, but that may be outside the remit of the actual Minister who's got this pot of money. Would you target it earlier in a child's life? Would it be more beneficial? When you're thinking about mothers going back to work, would it be more beneficial to have the money earlier?

Yes, if you look at work, it's about a continuation, because the minute you step out, that's when it becomes difficult. So, if you had an option of some support to your childcare when you want to go back to work between nine months to the age of one, which is most normal, then that's where the difference would come because that's when people make the decision of not going back to work. I've heard from mums recently who have said—. One mum, she was going back to work and had her childcare sorted with her in-laws. One of them got very sick—he's got terminal cancer—and they can't look after the child anymore. She's now had to give up her job to help care for her in-laws and care for her children. If there was some support there, then she would have been able to keep her job in some way. If there was some support there for carers—not just for children, but carers of people of all ages—then maybe she would have had some support to care for her sick father-in-law. These are quite simple things. We've not valuing the huge amount of support that people are offering when they provide unpaid care and they do it on the worst possible terms and conditions of any work, because they don't get any pay, they don't get any pension, they don't get any lunch breaks and they don't get any annual leave. And they also get told that they're economically inactive. That's a term that needs to change. You're not economically inactive; you're economically supporting the rest of society by taking care of all of these precious people. I will climb down from my high horse now.

Just sticking with the Welsh Government's childcare offer, do you think it would be doable, in terms of the consequences, if we funded instead childcare between the ages of one and two, in the hope that people would then be in paid employment and, therefore, able to get either their employer to help out or some other ways of funding the childcare? People need to get back to work when the child is one, ideally, because otherwise they're too long out of the workplace. But would it be acceptable, given that we can't do everything, to then say, 'Well, once a child's two, you're going to have to self-fund it'?

Maybe it could be a staggered approach. Maybe the TUC's a brilliant example, because they do provide 40 per cent towards the cost of every child. I think if you're a single parent, they provide much more because they know that that income is more precious. So, that's something that could be done.

10:00

Sarah, I wonder if you might have a view on this. The children's commissioner recommended that that childcare offer be extended to non-working parents. Is that something that you would support?

Definitely. I think that that would be brilliant from the aspect of the child and the aspect of the carer. It's quite a pressure. It's a 24-hour job to be a stay-at-home parent. There is no break. I was thinking about this question, actually, and there is something that, I'll be very honest with you, probably saved me from postnatal depression, and that was two hours a week of yoga. If every mum had two short hours entirely to themselves to do something that was good for their body and their mind, that's surely something that we could afford that's universal. It doesn't have to be 30 hours. It could just be 10 hours. I know we supposedly get that with early years education, but more often than not you're taking one child to early years education and then you're doing something with another; you don't get any child-free time to yourself unless you're lucky enough to have someone around to do it. Maybe we could provide a service in a gym, for example. I have to pay an excruciating amount of money, which I'm really lucky to be able to do, so that I can go to a gym that has childcare. There is not a gym in the capital city of Wales that has childcare available within it. There might be the odd crèche, for an hour or so, but you can't find any of that information on a website. You have to literally go into a leisure centre to enquire about it. And that would be really helpful to so many people. If you look at young mums from a care background, for example, they're more likely than any other mother to lose their children and have their children taken away from them, and probably it's down to the fact that they've got no support to have any time to themselves—any time to do anything that keeps them sane. If we gave these mums 10 hours a week from when their child was very small, then they could maybe do something that would keep their sanity on track.

Okay, Sarah. Thanks very much for that. Is there anything you'd like to add to the evidence that you've already given?

I don't think so. I think I've covered most things. It is down to these two major issues that you've got of how we've got one of the most expensive childcare systems in the entire world, which most salaries can't cover, and you've got employers who refuse to promote their jobs on a part-time or flexible basis. These are both things that the Welsh Government are able to tackle, and that would have a massive change. The other thing is some support for mothers who have gone through discrimination, because I don't think that's been covered. You look at a mum who hasn't, maybe, accessed a tribunal because the first 12 weeks of her child's life were probably so chaotic and precious that it was the last thing on her mind to want to tackle an employer. And so she's stuck in this difficult situation where she can't access the 30 hours of childcare because she doesn't have a job anyway. She doesn't have access to other areas of support. What are we doing to help those people? Maybe there's something that could be done to have a look at these women who have been through this experience and see what we can do to help them specifically, because, across the UK, that's over 55,000 women.

Okay, and I think there's a third and final question from Bethan Sayed.

Jest yn fras, achos rydych chi'n gweithio gyda busnesau, roeddwn i jest yn 'wonder-an' a ydych chi'n gwybod am enghreifftiau o fusnesau a fyddai'n hoffi siarad efo ni ynglŷn â beth maen nhw'n ei wneud, achos rydw i'n credu ei bod hi'n rhywbeth rydym ni'n ei ffeindio'n anodd fel Aelodau, i gael busnesau i roi ar y record yn gwmws beth maen nhw'n ei wneud yn y maes yma. Rydych chi'n sôn am Dylan's Den—a ydy hynny'n fusnes ynddo ei hun? A fyddai rhywun fel nhw yn hapus i drafod, achos rydw i'n credu ei bod hi'n bwysig i ni gael persbectif busnes hefyd?

Just briefly, because you work with businesses, I was just wondering whether you knew about examples of businesses that would like to speak to us about what they're doing, because I think  we're finding difficult as Members to get businesses to tell us on the record what exactly they're doing in this area. You were talking about Dylan's Den—is that a business in itself? Would they be happy to discuss this, because I think it's important for us to have the perspective of business as well?

I think that Pregnant Then Screwed are a good organisation to talk to, because they have access to a lot of employers who are doing good things. I know of individual cases of fathers, for example, who have been able to work flexibly. I think Legal & General would be a good company to talk to. I know that they have a part-time team, which is mostly made up of mums who need decent part-time work. They offer flexible and condensed working patterns to all parents.

10:05

Okay. Sarah, thank you very much for coming in this morning to give evidence to the committee. You will be sent a transcript to check for factual accuracy. Thank you very much indeed.

Thank you very much.

Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 10:05 a 10:20.

The meeting adjourned between 10:05 and 10:20.

10:20
3. Ymchwiliad i Feichiogrwydd, Mamolaeth a Gwaith yng Nghymru: Sesiwn Dystiolaeth 5
3. Inquiry into Pregnancy, Maternity and Work in Wales: Evidence Session 5

Welcome back, everyone. We have our fifth evidence-taking session now with regard to our inquiry into pregnancy, maternity and work in Wales. I'm very pleased to welcome Jenny Griffin, area organiser for Unison, and Dilwyn Roberts-Young, deputy general secretary for UCAC.

May I begin, then, with some initial questions? Firstly, there was an EHRC survey that showed a disconnect between the perception of employers and those of pregnant women and women on maternity leave with regard to these matters. Some 87 per cent of employers felt that it is in the best interest of organisations to support pregnant women and those on maternity leave, but in contrast 71 per cent of mothers reported negative or discriminatory experience. What do you think lies behind that seeming mismatch?

I think it suggests a lack of understanding of what maternity leave looks like. Unison did its own survey, and as part of the survey results 60 per cent of the respondents said that they'd had to make adjustments at work due to being a woman, and the majority of the anecdotal evidence that we had from that was down to maternity and paternity leave. I think just having a policy is all fine and well, but it's actually how the policy is implemented on the ground that makes the difference, and questions like: 'Are the employees aware of the policies?', 'Do they know where to access them?', 'Do they understand them?', and 'Do they understand their rights themselves?' It's the implementation. For example, we had a member who, yes, they made their flexible working request and it was agreed, but then they suffered detriment in the working place afterwards. So, it's how that's followed through.

Rydw i'n meddwl mai adleisio beth sydd gan Jenny i'w ddweud y byddaf innau hefyd. Rydw i'n cynrychioli athrawon a darlithwyr, ac o ran athrawon, mae 75 y cant o athrawon ysgol yng Nghymru yn fenywod, ac mae hynny'n codi wedyn o ran cymorthyddion i 89 y cant o'r gweithlu. Rydw i'n dal i weld bod yna ddiffyg dealltwriaeth a diffyg hyfforddiant yno. Mae yna faterion penodol yn ymwneud ag athrawon, materion yn ymwneud â'r ddogfen cyflogau ac amodau gwaith, ond hefyd materion yn ymwneud â chyllido ysgolion. Rydym ni mewn cyfnod eithriadol o fregus o ran cyllido ysgolion ac mae hynny yn tanseilio nifer o feysydd yn ymwneud ag amodau gwaith athrawon. Rydw i'n hapus i fynd drwy rhai o'r pryderon penodol, ond nid ydw i'n gwybod a yw hynny'n mynd i godi mewn cwestiynau eraill yn ystod y sesiwn.

I think I'd like to echo what Jenny has to say as well. I represent teachers and lecturers. In terms of teachers, 75 per cent of schoolteachers in Wales are women, and that rises in terms of assistants to 89 per cent of the workforce. I still see that there is a lack of understanding and a lack of training there. There are specific issues relating to teachers, issues relating to the pay and conditions document, but also issues relating to the financing of schools. We're in a very fragile situation with schools in terms of funding, and that does undermine a number of areas relating to conditions of work for teachers. I'm happy to go through some of the specific concerns, but I don't know whether that's going to come up again in other questions during the session.

Yes, we'll come on to that very shortly, actually, Dilwyn. But, before we do, Jenny, in terms of the survey, then, is there anything else that you would mention in regard to its findings that's relevant to this inquiry?

Yes, just to give a bit of background, there were five key questions. The first: had we achieved gender equality in the workplace, and around 70 per cent of respondents said 'no'. Had members experienced or witnessed sexism in the workplace—60 per cent had said yes and 60 per cent said they were able to challenge it. But, then, in relation to this inquiry, the question we asked was: had members felt the need to make adjustments at work as the result of being a woman. Now, while 60 per cent of those respondents said 'yes', it was the anecdotal evidence that was actually really interesting. For example, people being passed over for promotion because they were part-time, lack of access to training opportunities, whether that was because they were part-time or were deemed that they weren't able to access that training. We have examples of people fighting to get back to their 40 hours a week once they'd reduced their hours. So, lots of anecdotal evidence there showing that we've come far but we've still got so much further to go.

10:25

Rydw i'n meddwl taw un o'r heriau penodol sydd yna yn y gweithle addysg ydy pa mor anhyblyg ydy'r swydd. Mae gennym ni oriau penodol mewn blwyddyn, dyddiau penodol mewn blwyddyn, ac, wrth gwrs, mae yna rywfaint o hyblygrwydd ar adeg gwyliau, ond rydym yn gwybod erbyn hyn fod athrawon yn gweithio ymhell tu hwnt i'r oriau cyfeiriedig ar gyfer dysgu, ac mae hynny'n creu problemau efo apwyntiadau meddygol neu ddyletswyddau gofal sydd gyda nhw i'w teuluoedd. Ac mae hyn yn gyffredinol, ond o ystyried canran y gweithlu sydd yn fenywod, mae o'n creu impact eithriadol, felly.

I think that one of the specific challenges that exists in the education workforce is how inflexible the job is. We have specific hours in a year, specific days in a year, and, of course, there's some flexibility at the time of annual leave, but we know that teachers work beyond the directed hours of teaching, and that creates problems with medical appointments or caring duties that they have in their families. This is in general, but given the percentage of the workforce that are women, it does have an exceptional impact. 

Okay. Well, thanks for that. We'll move on, then, to some further questions from Jack Sargeant. 

Thanks, Chair. My question is going to be focused on to UCAC and, actually, the specific problems faced by teachers and the opportunity provided by the recent devolution of teachers' pay and conditions. 

Wel, fel undeb, rydym ni wedi ymgyrchu ar hyd y blynyddoedd, ers 1940, i ddatganoli cyflogau ac amodau gwaith, achos rydym ni yn meddwl bod rhaid i ni fod yn edrych yn benodol ar y gweithlu yma yng Nghymru. Pan ydym yn edrych ar ddatganoli cyflogau ac amodau gwaith, rydw i'n meddwl, yn aml iawn, ein bod ni'n edrych ar y cyflogau eu hunain. Ond mae o'n gyfle i ni erbyn hyn, rŵan, i wirioneddol edrych ar beth ydy'r heriau yn ymwneud ag amodau gwaith i'r gweithlu yng Nghymru. Mae yna bethau penodol iawn yna, ac efallai y gallaf i sôn am ychydig o'r pethau penodol hynny, yn ymwneud â cheisiadau i weithio rhan-amser, a hefyd y cyflog. Felly, fe wnaf i ddechrau efo'r cyflog. 

Un o'r problemau sydd yn codi ydy edrych ar y taliadau CAD—taliadau cyfrifoldeb addysgu a dysgu. Yn hynny o beth, ar y funud, mae o'n milwrio yn erbyn unrhyw un sydd yn dewis gweithio rhan-amser. Felly, os oes rhywun yn dymuno dychwelyd i'r gwaith ac yn dymuno gweithio rhan-amser, mae unrhyw daliad CAD yn milwrio yn erbyn yr athro neu'r athrawes achos dau beth penodol. Un ydy'r syniad bod ysgol yn teimlo nad ydy rhywun sy'n gweithio'n rhan-amser yn gallu ymgymryd yn llawnamser efo'r gwaith—bod y cyfrifoldebau penodol addysgu a dysgu yn rhywbeth nad ydy rhywun yn gallu ei wneud yn rhan-amser. A'r ail beth ydy yr impact ar gyflog. Er bod y cyfrifoldeb ar gyfer addysgu a dysgu—er bod y lwfans sy'n cael ei gynnig yn benodol ar gyfer gwneud y gwaith, mae'r taliad yn pro rata i'r cyflog. Felly, byddai disgwyliad i wneud y gwaith yn llawn, ond wedyn i hwnnw fod yn daliad rhan-amser. 

Ac mae'n bryder gennym ni hefyd pan mae'n dod i gyfleoedd datblygu gyrfa. Mae yna gyfle i ni, gyda'r datganoli, edrych o ddifri ar y cyfleoedd datblygiad proffesiynol pan mae rhywun wedi cymryd amser o'r gwaith neu pan mae rhywun yn mynd yn rhan-amser, i sicrhau cydraddoldeb ar draws y sector, a hefyd i edrych o ddifri ar y modd mae sicrhau bod yr amodau yn wirioneddol edrych ar hawliau'r unigolyn a hefyd yn edrych ar ein cyfrifoldeb ni wrth bennu cyflogau ac amodau gwaith ar gyfer yr unigolion. 

Well, as a union, we have campaigned over the years, since 1940, to devolve teachers' pay and conditions, because we do believe that we do need to be looking specifically at this workforce in Wales. When we look at the devolution of pay and conditions, I think very often we look at the pay itself. But it is an opportunity now for us to genuinely look at what the challenges are with regard to working conditions for the workforce in Wales. There are very specific things there that we could look at. Perhaps I could speak a little bit about some of those issues with regard to applications to work part-time, and also the pay. So, I'll start with the pay. 

One of the problems that arise is looking at TLR payments—teaching and learning responsibility payments. At present, it does militate against anyone who chooses to work part-time. So, if somebody returns to work and wishes to work part-time, any TLR payment militates against the teacher because of two specific issues. One is the idea that a school feels that someone who works part-time can't take part in that work fully—that the specific responsibilities for teaching and learning are something that somebody can't do part-time. The second thing is the impact on pay. Even though the responsibility for teaching and learning—even though the payment with regard to that is specific to the work, the payment is pro rata to the wage. So, there is an expectation to do the work in full, but for that to be paid on a part-time basis. 

And it's a concern that we have also when it comes to opportunities for career progression and development. There is an opportunity with devolution to look seriously at the opportunities for career and professional development when someone has taken time away from the workplace, and when someone has moved to a part-time contract, to ensure equality across the sector, and also to look at the way that we can we ensure that the conditions do consider genuinely the rights of the individual, and to look at our responsibility as we set pay and conditions for individuals. 

Thank you for that. You mentioned in there about returning and the teacher and learning responsibility payments and the need for many wanting to work part-time or work flexibly. A number of written responses cited the teaching and learning responsibility, and a particular problem for that is the need and want and requirement for working flexibility. I just would like to know your thoughts on how we can address those areas and issues.

Rydw i'n meddwl bod yna ddiwylliant yn gallu bod mewn ysgolion lle—. Os rhoddaf ychydig o enghreifftiau o’r math o bethau sy’n digwydd mewn ysgolion gan ein haelodau ni—pan mae rhywun yn cymryd diddordeb mewn datblygu eu gyrfa trwy gymryd cyfrifoldeb, mae yna drafodaethau anffurfiol weithiau’n digwydd lle mae yna wthio person i feddwl, ‘Wel, a ydych chi wir yn gallu gwneud y gwaith yma? A ydy o o fewn eich gallu chi, oherwydd eich bod chi'n ei wneud o'n rhan-amser, neu achos eich bod chi wedi cymryd toriad gyrfa, i allu ymwneud â'r gwaith? Ac rydw i'n meddwl bod eisiau newid y drafodaeth yna—mae yna bobl efo arbenigedd, ac mae'n rhaid cael trafodaeth sy'n edrych ar arbenigedd pobl fel ffordd ymlaen yn fanna. Mae yna bobl sydd hefyd, yn y dystiolaeth gwnaethom ni ei rhoi, wrth drafod hynny, wedi gorfod rhoi eu cyfrifoldebau yn ôl—wedi penderfynu bod yr ysgol ddim yn hwyluso y cyfleoedd i bobl gymryd y cyfrifoldeb addysgu a dysgu. Ac, wrth gwrs, mae yna oblygiadau ariannol mawr i hynny, achos os oes ad-drefnu'n digwydd mewn ysgol, mae'r cyflogau yn cael eu diogelu am dair blynedd, ond os ydy rhywun yn cael ei osod mewn sefyllfa lle maen nhw'n teimlo, 'Nid ydw i'n gallu ymgymryd â'r gwaith', nid oes yna ddiogelu cyflog hefyd, felly mae yna impact datblygiad gyrfa, mae yna impact emosiynol o ran bod rhywun yn datblygu gyrfa, ond mae yna impact ariannol hefyd. 

I think there's a culture that can exist in schools where—. If I give you some examples of the kinds of things that happen in schools—when someone takes an interest in career development through taking responsibility, there are informal discussions that take place where a person is pushed to think, 'Well, can you genuinely do this work? Is it within your ability, because you're doing it part-time, or because you have taken a career break, to be able to do that work?' And I think we need to change that discussion: there are people with expertise, and we need to have a discussion—there are people with expertise, and we need to have that discussion that looks at people's different expertise as a way forward. There are people who, in the evidence that we gave, in discussing this particular issue, have had to give back their responsibilities—they've decided that the school doesn't facilitate the opportunities for people to take responsibility for teaching and learning. And, of course, there are big financial implications to that, because if there is school reorganisation, then pay is safeguarded for three years, but if someone is put in a situation where they think, 'Well, I can't do that work', then there is no safeguarding of pay. So, there is a career development impact, there's an emotional impact in terms of someone developing their career, but there is that financial impact too.

10:30

Thank you for that. I'd just like to reiterate the fact that continuous professional development, whatever industry you're in, is a big deal in my eyes. I think we've got to do everything we can to support that. Thank you.

Cytuno'n llwyr. 

I agree entirely.

Jest cyn mynd i gwestiynau ynglŷn â'r gyfraith, roeddwn i jest eisiau gofyn a oedd unrhyw wahaniaeth rhwng sut mae staff o fewn y system addysg yn cael eu trin. Er enghraifft, roeddech chi'n sôn yn gynharach am gynorthwywyr dosbarth: a ydy agweddau rhai ysgolion neu awdurdodau addysg yn wahanol i sectorau gwahanol o staff?

Just before going into questions about the law, I just wanted to ask whether there was any difference between the way staff within the education system are treated. For example, you mentioned earlier about classroom assistants: are the attitudes of some schools or authorities different for different sectors of staff?

Rydw i'n meddwl bod yna bryder cyffredinol. Pe bawn i'n gorfod dweud un peth sydd efallai'n mynd oddi ar y llwybr: rydw i'n meddwl, ar hyn o bryd, fod adrannau adnoddau dynol yn dioddef oherwydd diffyg capasiti. Mae toriadau yn digwydd ar draws y sector dysgu. Rydw i'n mynd i gyfarfodydd diswyddo'n gyson, ond rydw i'n gwbl ymwybodol hefyd, mewn cyfnod lle mae'r morâl a'r lles yn cael ei daro'n llwyr o fewn y swyddfeydd ac o fewn yr adrannau adnoddau dynol, fod yna dorri yn digwydd yn fanno hefyd, ac mae hynny'n tanseilio cefnogaeth i ysgolion, ond hefyd mae'n tanseilio creu hinsawdd lle mae yna drafodaeth agored i gymorthyddion. Rydw i wedi siarad ar y cyfryngau yn ddiweddar ynglŷn â'r cymorthyddion sy'n colli eu swyddi. Nid ydw i'n cynrychioli cymorthyddion—rydym ni ond yn cynrychioli athrawon a darlithwyr—ond rydw i'n gwybod bod colli cymorthyddion yn cael impact ar lwyth gwaith ac ar les athrawon hefyd. Felly, rydw i'n meddwl ei fod o'n rhywbeth ar draws y sector, ac rydw i'n meddwl bod angen newid y diwylliant. 

O ran newid y diwylliant, mae yna waith rydw i wedi ei weld yn cael ei wneud yn San Steffan—ac rydw i wedi bod yn ymwneud â hwnnw dros gyfnod o ddwy flynedd—ar weithio'n hwy, neu'n hirach. Mae yna adolygiad wedi bod o weithio'n hirach oherwydd bod y newidiadau pensiwn yn golygu bod athrawon yn mynd i fod yn gweithio nes eu bod nhw'n 67 oed. Rŵan, rhan o'r her yn fanno ydy meddwl yn fwy creadigol. Buaswn i wrth fy modd pe buasai'r oedran yn cael ei newid, ond rydym ni'n gweithio mewn oes lle mae athrawon ifanc yn mynd i fod yn gweithio nes eu bod nhw'n 67, ac mae hynny'n golygu bod angen edrych ar gyfleoedd toriad gyrfa, gweithio rhan-amser, pob math o bethau—newid dyletswyddau yn yr ysgol.

Mae'r adroddiad yna yn dod allan ar hyn o bryd, ac rydw i wedi bod yn dweud drosodd a throsodd yn San Steffan: yr her i ni yng Nghymru ydy sut mae cymhwyso hynny ar gyfer Cymru, achos mae'r rheini yn heriau y mae'n rhaid i ni edrych arnyn nhw. Mae yna gynrychiolydd o Lywodraeth Cymru yn dod i'r cyfarfodydd yna. Mae'r her o newid yr hinsawdd gwaith yn un anferthol, rydw i'n meddwl—ac roeddem ni'n trafod hynny cyn dod i mewn—ymhob maes, ond mewn dysgu, rydw i'n meddwl bod yna her anferthol i ni dros y blynyddoedd nesaf, a bod yn rhaid i ni edrych arno fo o bob un cyfeiriad: o ran addysg, addysgu pobl sydd yn y sector a phobl sy'n rhoi cyngor, y ffordd mae ysgolion yn cael eu cynghori, ac, wrth gwrs, mae hynny'n mynd law yn llaw â'r cyllido, sy'n caniatáu’r hyblygrwydd. 

I think that there is a general concern. If I had to say one thing about this that perhaps takes us away from this particular path: I think, at present, human resources departments are suffering because of the lack of capacity. Cuts are happening across the teaching and learning sector. I go to dismissal meetings regularly, and I'm entirely aware as well that, in a period when morale and well-being is being undermined entirely within offices and HR departments, there are cuts happening there as well, and that undermines the support for schools, but it also undermines the creation of a climate where there is an open discussion for assistants. I've spoken in the media recently about the number of assistants who are losing their jobs. I don't represent teaching assistants—we only represent teachers and lecturers—but I know that losing classroom assistants can have an impact on the workload and well-being of teachers as well. So, I think it's something that's happening across the sector, and we need to change the culture.

In terms of that culture change, work has been done in Westminster—and I've been involved in that work over a period of two years—on working longer. There has been a review of working longer because the pension changes mean that teachers are going to be working until they're 67 years of age. Now, part of the challenge there is thinking more creatively. I'd be delighted if the age was changed, but we're working in a period where young teachers will be having to work until they're 67, and we need to look at the opportunities for career breaks, working part-time, all kinds of things—changing duties in the school.

That report is coming out at present, and I've been saying time and time again in Westminster that the challenge for us in Wales is how to apply that in Wales, because those are challenges that we have to look at. There is a representative from the Welsh Government coming to those meetings. The challenge of changing the work climate is a major one—we were talking about that just before coming in here—and it's a challenge in every area, but in teaching and learning, it's a major challenge for us in the coming years and we have to look at it from all directions: in terms of education, educating people in the sector and people who give advice, the way that schools are advised, and, of course, that goes hand in hand with the funding that allows the flexibility.

Os medrwch chi roi'r adroddiad, neu linc i'r adroddiad, pan ddaw e—

If you could provide us with the report, or a link to the report when it is published—

Fe wnaf i, yn bendant. 

I will, certainly.

Mae yna gyfarfod mewn tair wythnos y byddaf i'n mynd iddo fo. Fi ydy'r unig gynrychiolydd sy'n mynd o Gymru heblaw bod Llywodraeth Cymru yna, ac mae'n eithriadol o bwysig. Rydw i'n mynd yna yn benodol, rydw i'n meddwl, er mwyn cael cnoi cil yr undebau eraill am fel rydym ni'n cymhwyso hyn, a thrio mynd ati i newid y diwylliant sydd yna ar hyn o bryd.

There is a meeting in three weeks that I will be attending. I'll be the only one representing Wales unless the Welsh Government is there, and it is extremely important. I'm going there specifically to discuss the issue with other unions on how we apply this, and how we go on to change the culture that exists at the moment.

Jest o ran Unsain hefyd, os ydych chi'n gallu ateb y cwestiwn o ran a ydych chi'n credu ei bod yn fwy i'w ymwneud â diwylliant, neu ddiffyg ymwybyddiaeth o'r gyfraith, neu dipyn bach o'r ddwy beth—beth ydych chi'n credu sydd wrth wraidd y broblem yma?

Just in terms of Unison as well, could you answer the question with regard to whether you think it is more to do with a culture or a lack of awareness of the law, or a combination of the two things—what do you believe is at the root of this problem?

10:35

Yes. Obviously, Unison, we represent—well, we're one of the largest unions for representing school support staff. They are one of the lowest-paid groups of workers. We're talking about professional development for them, and now that we've got the introduction of the Education Workforce Council and the introduction of—with the professional registration and their professional development, we're still in a situation where these members are having to do training in their own time. We've got some members that are being asked to come in on INSET days, even though they don't get paid for INSET days, to do the training. The impact on their home life about having to come in, they're not being paid—there are big issues there. Now, they're classed as local government workers, whereas, obviously, teachers, they've got a separate negotiating body. The school support staff are local government workers. We find issues within HR where HR still don't understand the implications of term-time working for school support staff and how to work that out. Quite often we get pulled into negotiations of just having to point out the simplest of—well, not the simplest of calculations, because it's not a simple calculation, but to make HR aware of their maternity leave, when it starts and what they're entitled to.

So, jest yn fwy cyffredinol na chynorthwywyr dosbarth, beth ydych chi'n credu sydd yn gallu cael ei wneud o ran newid diwylliant arferion gwael gan gyflogwyr? Rydw i'n cydnabod y gwaith yr ydych chi'n ei wneud ar lefel San Steffan, ond a oes yna unrhyw beth arall ydych chi'n credu y byddai'n gallu newid yr hyn sydd yn digwydd o fewn eich sectorau chi yn benodol?

So, just more generally than with regard to classroom assistants, what do you believe can be done in terms of changing culture and poor practices by employers? I recognise the work that you're doing at a Westminster level, but is there anything else that could change what happens within your particular sectors?

Rydw i'n meddwl, o ran yr ymateb y gwnaethom ni ei wneud i'r ymgynghoriad, gwnaethom ni edrych ar hwn yn benodol efo'n gilydd, a rydym ni'n sôn am hyfforddiant i'r cylch llywodraethol. Mewn byd addysg, mae'r cylch llywodraethol yn gwneud penderfyniadau mawr ynglŷn â chyflogau, diswyddo, penodi, ac maen nhw yn nwylo aelodau lleyg o'r gymdeithas, ac rydym ni'n cydnabod y gwaith a rôl eithriadol o bwysig sydd gyda nhw a'r amser maen nhw'n ei rhoi, ond rydw i'n meddwl bod yn rhaid i ni wirioneddol edrych ar hyfforddiant nid yn unig i'r cylch llywodraethu, ond i arweinwyr yr ysgol, ac edrych ar y rheoliadau, ac wedyn gwella'r wybodaeth a dealltwriaeth law yn llaw efo newid diwylliant. Wrth i ni sôn am ddatganoli cyflogau ac amodau gwaith, mae'n rhaid inni wirioneddol manteisio ar hynny er lles ein haelodau ni o ran athrawon, ac edrych ar sut mae creu rhywbeth sydd yn genedlaethol i Gymru, ond hefyd yn edrych ar ôl y gweithlu ym mhob cwr o Gymru a phob amgylchiad.

I think, in terms of the response that we gave to the consultation, we looked at this specifically together, and we're talking about training for governing bodies. In education, governing bodies make big decisions regarding redundancies, pay and employment, and they are in the hands of lay members of society, and we acknowledge their work and important role and the time that they give, but I think we need to look at training not only for governing bodies, but also for school leaders, and look at the regulations and improve the information and the understanding hand in hand with a change of culture. As we talk about the devolution of pay and conditions, we have to really look and take advantage of that in terms of the well-being of our teachers and look at how we can create something that is national for Wales, but also looks after the workforce in every part of Wales and in every situation.

I would reiterate what Dilwyn has said in terms of training opportunities. Specifically for school support staff, it's allowing that mechanism for them to access that training in work time, not in their own time. That is something that we are working on through our schools leads and through local government, and yes, definitely the cultural change.

Ocê. Jest o ran—mae'n y cwestiwn olaf gen i, ddim am y staff, ond a ydych chi'n cydnabod rhieni sydd efallai â chontractau gwael eu hunain sydd yn dod i mewn i'r ysgol sydd yn cael sialensi eu hunain? Sut mae'r ysgol yn ymdrin â sefyllfa lle maen nhw'n gweld efallai bod yna broblemau gyda nhw yn jyglo'r hyn sydd yn ofynnol iddyn nhw fel rheini? Rwy'n gwybod nad rôl yr ysgol yw bod yn weithwyr cymdeithasol, ond rwy'n gwybod eu bod nhw'n diweddu lan yn bod yn weithwyr cymdeithasol proxy weithiau. Ond sut maen nhw'n gallu helpu rhieni sydd yn mynd trwy'r sefyllfa yma hefyd?

Okay. Just in terms of the final question from me, it's not with regard to the staff, but do you recognise that there are parents who are on poor contracts themselves who come into the schools who face their own challenges? How do schools deal with a situation where they see perhaps that there are problems with parents juggling their particular situations and their requirements as parents? I know it's not the role of a school to be social workers, but I do know that they do end up being social workers by proxy sometimes. So, how can they support parents who are going through these situations?

Gwnaf i ddechrau, felly. Wel, yn rhyfedd iawn, roeddwn i mewn ysgol uwchradd ddoe diwethaf, ac roeddwn i edrych ar ddisgrifiad swydd ac amodau gwaith aelodau o staff yn yr ysgol, a beth roeddwn i'n gweld oedd bod athrawon yn gwbl ymwybodol o'r hyn. Roeddwn i'n sylweddoli bod hyn a hyn yn dod ar gyfer y clwb brecwast yn gwbl wirfoddol, achos bod y disgyblion yn rhai bregus, a bod rhieni angen, efallai, sgwrs, angen cydweithio efo'r ysgol. Roedd fy nheimladau i yn mynd dwy ffordd: (1) nid oes dwywaith am ymrwymiad staff ysgol—y cymorthyddion, holl staff yr ysgol, gan gynnwys athrawon a benaethiaid; mae’r ymrwymiad yn anferthol. Felly, mae hynny i’w edmygu a’i glodfori. Ond eto roeddwn i’n sylweddoli hefyd bod hynny’n tanseilio’u hamodau gwaith nhw achos mae pobl yn gweithio’n eithriadol o galed ar y funud. Mae llwyth gwaith yn anferthol. Lle bynnag rydw i’n mynd, rydw i’n cael galwad beunyddiol, sawl gwaith y diwrnod, ynglŷn â phobl sy’n ei chael hi’n anodd oherwydd y llwyth gwaith. Ond rydw i’n ymwybodol hefyd maen nhw’n ychwanegu at y gwaith yma dim ond achos eu bod nhw’n ymwybodol—. Mae’r ymrwymiad i ddisgyblion, ac, wrth roi ymrwymiad i’r disgyblion, mae o i’r teuluoedd ac i’r cymunedau cyfan. Mae’n rhaid inni edrych ar hynny, rydw i’n meddwl, a’i werthfawrogi o a hefyd gweld sut mae ei wneud o’n gynaliadwy heb iddo danseilio'r disgwyliadau sydd ar athrawon, o ystyried yr holl atebolrwydd sy’n dod o bob cyfeiriad.

I'll start, therefore. Well, strangely enough, I was in a secondary school yesterday and I was looking at job descriptions and conditions of staff in the school, and what I was seeing was that teachers were really aware of this. I recognised that some were coming to the breakfast club on a voluntary basis because children were vulnerable and parents perhaps needed a chat, needed to work with the school. My feelings were going in two directions. There's no doubt about the commitment of school staff— the assistants, all the school staff, teachers and heads; the commitment is massive. Therefore, that is to be admired and to be praised. But I also realised that it did undermine their conditions of work because people work extremely hard at the moment. The workload is enormous. Wherever I go, I have a daily call many times a day from people who are finding things difficult because of the workload. But I'm also aware that they add to this work because they are aware—. The commitment's to pupils, but, by giving that commitment to pupils, it's to the families and to the communities as a whole. So, we need to look at that, I think, and appreciate it and see how we can do it in a sustainable way without it undermining the expectations that are on teachers, given all that accountability that is coming from all directions.

10:40

Thanks. How do you feel that fathers and partners can be encouraged to take up shared parental leave and other entitlements? Perhaps if you want to go first, Jenny, and then Dilwyn.

I think it's going to require a huge cultural change. Yes, we've got the legal framework for shared parental leave. I think the question then is: are fathers, first of all, aware of it? And then are they able, and are they willing, to put that request in? Just a conversation with my partner last night—. We had the conversation—you know, I'm a trade unionist—and there was no way he would even broach that conversation for fear of recrimination in work. So, that cultural change is paramount.

I think, also, access to affordable childcare will alleviate that situation, but also looking at how we can reduce the income loss for both parents—not just it being about the women; it's the man as well. Just looking at paternity leave, for example: we've got two weeks—just two weeks—for the man to have paternity leave. Putting shared parental leave aside, those two weeks, they fly by; that's a drop in the ocean. So, just those small elements—if we could extend that, look at how we can impact on that financial loss, I think, from the father's side as well as the mother's side.

Roeddwn i'n falch o’ch gweld chi'n pwysleisio datblygiad proffesiynol yn gynharach. Bues i mewn ysgol arall ddoe—rydw i'n gweithio fel swyddog maes, ac yn ymweld â llawer o ysgolion—lle oedd rhywun yn torri ei chalon ynglŷn â datblygiad proffesiynol am ei bod hi'n aros yn ei hunfan. Dyma gadeirydd y llywodraethwyr yn gofyn, 'Pwy sy'n eistedd i lawr efo chi i drafod, o adnoddau dynol neu o'r tîm rheoli?' Wir, mae hwnnw'n gwestiwn y gelli di ei ofyn am sawl maes. Yn y maes rydych chi’n holi amdano fe rŵan, lle mae cael y drafodaeth yna? Rydw i’n meddwl ein bod ni’n mynd yn ôl at ddiwylliant eto. Ym mha fforwm mai cael y drafodaeth yna? Pa gefnogaeth sydd yna, pa gyngor ac arweiniad? Mae’n gam mawr.

Mae’n fy atgoffa i tipyn bach o reoliadau sydd wedi newid gydag ymddeol yn raddol i athrawon, lle mae yna bethau positif—. Mae yna gyfleoedd i ymddeol yn raddol, ond nid oes yna neb yn eu trafod. Pan fo pobl yn dod at yr undebau, rydym ni’n rhoi cyngor ac arweiniad, ond nid oes yna fforwm o fewn ysgol—nid oes yr arbenigedd, nid oes yr hyder, rydw i'n meddwl, i allu ei drafod o. Yn yr un modd, nid oes yna fodd trafod pan fo cyfnod yn dod tuag at famolaeth a thadolaeth, lle, yn aml, efallai cewch chi bennaeth yn cysylltu efo’r undeb i ofyn, ‘Beth ydw i fod i’w wneud? Mae gen i ofn gwneud hyn, mae gen i ofn gwneud y llall’ yn lle bod yna hyder i allu cael trafodaeth er lles pawb yn yr ysgol. Achos beth rydym ni’n ei wneud—trwy gael y gweithlu sy’n hapus yn y gwaith, ac yn gyfforddus un y gwaith, rydym ni’n buddsoddi ar gyfer y dyfodol ac yn rhoi hyder i’r person yn y gweithlu yn y cyflogwr, felly. Mae angen yr hyder y ddwy ffordd, felly.

I was pleased to see you emphasising professional development earlier. I was in another school yesterday—I work as a field officer, and I visit many schools—where somebody was heartbroken about their professional development. They felt that they were at a standstill. The chair of governors asked, 'Who sits down with you to discuss, from human resources or from the management team?' And that's a question that you could ask in several areas. In the area that you're asking about specifically now, where do we have that discussion? I think we're going back to culture again. In what forum can we have that particular discussion? What support is there? What advice, leadership and guidance is there? It's a major step.

It reminds me a little bit about the regulations that have changed with regard to gradual retirement for teachers, where there are positive developments. There are opportunities with regard to phased retirement, but nobody's discussing this. People come to the unions and we give guidance, but there's no forum within a school, and there's no expertise and no confidence to discuss it. Similarly, there's no way of discussing when we approach paternity and maternity, where often you'll have a head contacting the union to ask, 'What do I do? I'm afraid of doing this or that.' There should be that confidence to have a discussion for the benefit of everyone in the school. Because what we're doing—by having a workforce that's content in their work, we're investing for the future, and we're giving confidence to the workforce in their employer. We need that to work both ways.

You know there's, obviously, a problem with budgets of schools. How do you think the best way would be of addressing this problem? Should there be a designated person dealing with professional development? How do we get over this?

Wel, mae o’n gyfrifoldeb pob ysgol i sicrhau cydraddoldeb i bawb o ran datblygiad proffesiynol, ac, wrth ddweud hynny, rydym ni'n sôn am bobl sydd yn y swydd drwy'r amser, neu bobl sydd i ffwrdd oherwydd salwch, pobl sydd ag anghenion penodol, rhywun sydd i ffwrdd ar famolaeth. Mae gofyn monitro, ac mae o'n gyfrifoldeb y pennaeth. Ond rydw i'n meddwl, yn aml iawn, pan fyddem ni'n dod i gyllido, pan fyddaf i'n ymateb i ymgynghoriadau, mae ysgolion yn gofyn am sylwadau. rydw i bob amser yn cyfeirio at impact llwyth gwaith a hefyd impact cydraddoldeb, ac nid ydw i'n meddwl bod yr un ysgol hyd yn hyn yn gallu dweud yn gyfforddus eu bod nhw'n gwybod sut mae delio â hynny. Fe wnawn nhw ymateb, ac rydw i'n gwerthfawrogi, ond rydw i'n sylweddoli wrth ei gyflwyno fo yn fy sylwadau mai'r peth pwysicaf i mi ydy fy mod i wedi ei roi o yna fel rhywbeth mae'n rhaid iddyn nhw fod yn troi ato fo, ac mae'n rhaid iddyn nhw gael ei herian arno fo yn ystod y broses, a thu hwnt i'r broses. 

Well, it is the responsibility of all schools to ensure equality for all in terms of professional development, and, in doing so, we're talking about people who are in the post full time, or people who are away because of illness, people who have specific needs, someone who is on maternity leave. There is a requirement to monitor this, and it is the responsibility of the head. But, when we come to funding, when I respond to consultations, schools are asking for responses, I always refer to the impact of the workload and the impact of equality, and I don't think that any school can say comfortably that they know how to deal with those issues. They'll respond, and I appreciate that, but I realise in putting forward my comments that the most important thing for me is that I have placed it there as something that they have to consider, and that they have to be challenged on in the process, and beyond.  

10:45

It's perfectly clear from all the evidence we've gathered so far that we have a major problem here. Neither employers nor employees understand the law, and some of them are flouting the law even though they are fully aware of what it is. We've had one example from an employment lawyer who was asked inappropriate questions at interview. So, we have a major problem of enforcement, and we also have a major cultural problem. I just wonder if you could tell us what happens when one of your members becomes pregnant in terms of what is the normal procedure that you adopt. Obviously, they may not tell you, but, if they do approach you, what do you then do?  

Do you mean in terms of if they have an issue, or—?

Well, some people might approach you saying, 'I'm expecting a baby on X, Y, Z day. Could you just talk me through what my rights are?' Do people think that that's the appropriate place to go? 

I think that that question in itself is indicative of where we are, because, depending on where you are in a workforce—. So, take Unison for example. Yes, we work in local government, we work in NHS, and if you're in one of the bigger buildings generally you've got somebody around to be able to have that conversation with, you'll know who your HR manager is, you might have access to the intranet to be able to access your policies. So, even the person sat next to you—'Go and have a look at the policy; have a read through it'. So, you know, just on those basic levels. 

Increasingly, we're seeing outsourced employers where—. The social care workforce, they're working at home, they're working in people's houses, they don't see somebody from one day to the next, let alone being in the office. So, those questions, how do they have them—? For us, the difficulty is getting the information out there. It's access to their rights, but also having somebody that they can speak to. Now, if they can't speak to their employer and they also want to have somebody else to speak to, that's where the trade unions come in. And, again, outsourced employers; if we've got a hostile employer and we can't even get across the doorstep, how do we reach those members? 

Well, if they're your member then you obviously have some means of communicating with them. What do you think we need to do because, clearly, people are ignorant of their rights, and employers are either ignorant or abusing their rights? So, you know, outsourcing is a reality. What are we going to do about it? 

I think—you know, when you're pregnant you have a wealth of appointments you go to. You go to your antenatal appointments, you go to your doctor's appointments. I think we need to look at alternative avenues of getting that information out there. That's not saying more information, because, quite clearly, there's plenty of information out there, but it's getting it to the right points. As I say, when I was pregnant I didn't come across any of that information, but then I'm lucky that I work where I do. So, I think it's looking at where we can put that information for people to be able to access it. 

But the issue is that people join a trade union in order to safeguard and improve their rights at work, and if you compare the rights we have in this country compared with, say, Germany, we have a very long way to go. So, are trade unions up to it? [Laughter.] 

Nid ydw i yn mynd i fynd ar y trywydd yna; rydw i'n mynd i ateb y cwestiwn, rydw i'n meddwl. Pan fo pobl yn dod at UCAC i ofyn am gyngor, maen nhw'n dod at UCAC am gyngor oherwydd efallai nad ydyn nhw yn hyderus bod nhw'n gallu trafod yn yr ysgol, un ai achos bod yna agweddau—eu bod nhw'n pryderu beth ydy'r agwedd—neu bod nhw ddim yn hyderus bod yr wybodaeth ar gael. Maen nhw'n troi atom ni i ofyn am gyngor o ran beth ydy'r hawliau ac, unwaith eto, rydym ni'n sôn am sut mae cael mynediad—fel roedd Jenny yn ei ddweud—sut mae cael mynediad at wybodaeth, sicrhau bod y mynediad ar gael.

Ac rydym yn ffodus, rydym ni fel undebau yn ddigon beirniadol o'r awdurdodau lleol yn aml, ond yr hyn sydd gennym ni yng Nghymru ydy cyfundrefn addysg sydd—y rhan fwyaf, y mwyafrif llethol, llethol o ysgolion—â pherthynas agos efo'r awdurdod lleol. Felly, pan fydd yna broblemau'n codi, rydym ni'n gallu troi at yr ysgolion, un ai'n uniongyrchol neu drwy'r awdurdod, a chydweithio efo nhw i fynd drwy'r problemau sydd yn codi. Mae'r problemau hynny yn bethau sydd yn gallu cael eu trafod drwy ddeialog, ac yn aml iawn efallai bod datrysiad yn dod oherwydd y berthynas yna rhwng yr undeb a'r cyflogwr ac, wrth gwrs, ein haelodau ni.

Mae'r aelodau'n dod atom ni weithiau dim ond i ofyn am gyngor, jest gwirio rhywbeth. Efallai eu bod nhw'n eithaf clir, ond mi fyddwch chi'n gwybod cystal â minnau, mewn Deddf bob amser, mae yna elfennau cymhleth iddi—mae yna elfennau amwys i Ddeddfau—ac maen nhw jest eisiau gwirio gwybodaeth cyn cael y drafodaeth fel eu bod nhw'n ennill hyder. Felly, mae'n rôl ni yn gallu bod yn ddim ond cynnig arweiniad. Mae gennym ni daflenni penodol yn ymwneud â mamolaeth, mae gennym ni fynediad at gyngor cyfreithiol. Ond hefyd, mae o'n hwyluso'r drafodaeth—y drafodaeth rydym ni'n meddwl sydd ddim yn digwydd yn ddigon aml ar hyn o bryd.

I'm not going to go in that direction; I'll answer the question, I think. When people come to UCAC for advice they come to us because they're perhaps not confident that they can discuss this in the school, either because there are attitudes—they're concerned about the attitudes—or they're not confident that the information is available. They turn to us and ask for advice in terms of what their rights are and, once more, we're talking about how to access—as Jenny mentioned—how to access information, ensure that that information is available.

We are fortunate, as unions we can be quite critical of local authorities sometimes, but what we have in Wales is an education system with the large majority of schools having a good relationship with the local authority. When problems do arise, we can turn to the schools, either directly or through the authority, and work together with them to work through problems that arise. Those problems can be discussed through dialogue, and quite often, there is a solution because of that relationship between the union and the employer and, of course, our members.

Members come to us sometimes only to ask advice; they just want to check something. Perhaps they're very clear, but you will know as well as I do that there are complex elements to Acts—it may be ambiguous perhaps—and they just want to check information before they have that discussion, so that they get that confidence. So, our role can be one of only providing guidance. We have leaflets on maternity, we have access to legal advice. But it also facilitates the discussion—the discussion that we think isn't happening often enough at the moment.  

10:50

Okay. So, local authorities are flexible when it comes to minor adjustments, but clearly, in the education sector, there is a resistance to job shares and flexible working, which is clearly a major issue for parents. 

Wel, ydy, mae'n drafodaeth ac, fel rydym ni wedi cael clywed yn y cyfarfod yma'n barod, mae datganoli cyflogau ac amodau gwaith yn creu cyfle gwirioneddol i bawb ohonom ni fod yn edrych ar sicrhau y gweithle mwyaf pwrpasol ar gyfer y gweithlu. 

Yes, it's a discussion and, as we've heard in this meeting already, the devolution of pay and conditions provides a real opportunity for us all to look at ensuring the most purposeful workplace for the workforce. 

I think, obviously again with Unison, we've got a mix of employers. We've got the larger employers, but then we've also now increasingly got the smaller, third sector, private sector, voluntary sector organisations too. I think it's in the EHRC findings, the difference between the negative impact, if you like. So then, the larger organisations, it tends not to be, for the employer side it's not the financial burden of making changes, but the access to part-time or flexible working, because there might be more of senior role, so therefore the precedent isn't there to be able to offer that, whereas in the smaller employers, the financial burden is quoted more by the employer side of things. But that's where you tend to see women who are more likely to leave entirely because they haven't got that support. 

Okay. So, do you think trade unions could do more in their annual negotiations with employers to promote better conditions for parents?

Again, that's an interesting one because if you look at outsourcing, that kind of gets taken out of our hands. If you've got an outsourced employee that's part of a national negotiating and bargaining structure, the minute they're outsourced, they might be covered by the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981, but that will slowly get eroded over time. So, the maternity provisions within that may very well be eroded. That's just the one example. 

Okay. We still have a very large number of directly employed people and others have suggested to us that if the public sector put its house in order that would force the private sector to also pay more attention to the need to parents, because they'll be wanting to be able to attract good people. 

Rydw i am gyffwrdd ag un peth ynglŷn â phobl sy'n gweithio ar eu pennau eu hunain, achos mae o yn fater yn addysg hefyd. Pan rydym ni'n sôn am ysgolion sy'n rhan o awdurdodau lleol—y niferoedd llethol—mae gennym ni nifer fawr o athrawon ac aelodau sydd gennym ni o'r undeb sydd yn gwneud gwaith cyflenwi, a phan rydym ni'n edrych ar waith cyflenwi, rydym ni wedi gweld y newid yna yn syfrdanol dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf yma, gydag ein pryder ni am asiantaethau. Rydw i'n gwybod ei bod hi'n drafodaeth sy'n digwydd yma'n gyson, ac mae'n drafodaeth y mae'n rhaid symud ymlaen efo hi achos mi fyddwn ni'n gweld arian yn llifo allan o'r sector, ond hefyd y diffyg hawliau—diffyg hawliau o ran mamolaeth, salwch, pensiynau a'r amodau gwaith cyffredinol. Mae'n rhaid inni fynd i'r afael efo hynny, ac y mae'n rhaid inni fynd i'r afael efo fo yn sydyn iawn. Roedd cynhadledd yr undeb ddydd Gwener a dydd Sadwrn diwethaf, ac roedd yn fater a oedd yn cael ei drafod yn helaeth yn y gynhadledd fel rhywbeth y mae'n rhaid inni fod yn ei drafod, a sicrhau—wyddoch chi—fod pob athro, o ran ein haelodau ni yn y gweithlu, yn cael ei drin yn gydradd, a bod yr amodau yn caniatáu hynny.

I want to touch on one thing regarding people who work on their own, because it is an issue in education as well. While we're talking about schools that are part of a local authority—the majority—we have a large number of teachers and members of the union who do supply work, and when we look at supply work, we've seen that change greatly over the last few years, with our concern about agencies. I know that a discussion on this happens quite regularly here, and it's a discussion that needs to be moved forward with because we'll be seeing money flowing out of the sector, but also the lack of rights—lack of rights in terms of maternity, sickness, pensions and general work conditions. We have to address that, and we have to address it very quickly. The union's conference was held last Friday and Saturday, and it was an issue that was discussed at length in the conference as something that we do need to discuss, and ensure that every teacher, in terms of our members in the workforce, is treated equally, and that the conditions allow that.

10:55

Yes, I'm happy to do that. Obviously, the elephant in the room always on this issue is childcare, because if we had the level of childcare that we had during the second world war, there wouldn't be any problem. So, what impact do you think the Welsh Government's new childcare offer is going to have on your members?

In terms of the consultation response, we haven't had any specific feedback from our members. Having said that, access to free childcare is always welcome. I do, however, think it needs a whole separate consultation because it's so big. There are so many different facets to it. It's how we decide who gets that support. Does it go on family income? Does it go on an individual? Does it go on the household? Is it to get people back into work? And if it's specifically to get people back into work, does that discount those that have gone part-time working already? For example, obviously, the childcare offer now is for three to four-year-olds, but doesn't take into account prior to those years. So, if you've got somebody that's left their job for the smaller sectors I mentioned earlier—they've left their job—they then have two years out of the workforce, potential loss of confidence, potential loss of skills. Getting back into that is a huge issue. Don't get me wrong, it's great that we can have careers advice tailored for women—fantastic—and it's great that we can provide support and training to enhance that role and to get them back into work, but it doesn't change the fact that that's where that issue was coming from, that they're out of work the minute they've had their child.

Okay. Clearly, there is a finite pot of money, but are we targeting it at the most appropriate age group? You've obviously highlighted the two years out of the workforce. Supposing we were to target it on children aged one to two, on the assumption that once women were back in the workforce—or once both parents were back in the workforce—then they'd be better able to cover the costs of the childcare for the two to three-year-olds and three to four-year-olds.

I don't have a specific answer. The childcare offer is very complicated, I think.

For the layperson—. Even for people who are dealing with it every day, it's hard to get your head around. So, for the layperson to get their head around it, I think it's very slow to roll out. I was having a conversation with my colleague in the office yesterday and she's got a two-year-old, she's due to go on maternity leave on Friday and didn't even know about the childcare offer. So, how we're getting the message out there; it is very slowly being implemented.

It is, but as you say, it's very complicated. We've got seven pilot areas at the moment, and we hope that Cardiff is going to become an eighth one. You must have Unison members who work in the childcare sector, so you will know that it is complicated. It's quite rightly highly regulated and we need to ensure that the quality of care is appropriate for our children rather than just warehousing them.

Roeddwn i'n mynd i ddweud, nid yw'n faes rydw i wedi gallu treulio llawer o amser arno fo. Yr un peth a oedd yn fy nharo i oedd—yn yr un modd efo gofal rhieni a oedd yn cael ei rannu—sut y mae cael y drafodaeth honno. Sut mae'r drafodaeth honno yn gallu digwydd? Unwaith eto, rwy'n meddwl ein bod wedi ei ddweud drosodd a throsodd yn y cyfarfod yma: beth bynnag ydy'r rheoliadau, beth bynnag ydy'r llwybrau sydd yn cael eu dilyn o ran hawliau a'r gyfraith, sut y mae cael y newid diwylliant? Sut mae cael y drafodaeth hyderus honno yn y gweithlu? Dyna fydd yr her i ni.

I was just going to say that it's not an area that I have spent a great deal of time on, but the one thing that did strike me was—in the same way as with shared parental leave—how do we have that discussion. How can that discussion take place? Once again, I think that we've said it time and time again in this meeting: whatever the regulations are, whatever the pathways are in terms of rights and the law, how can we have that culture change? How can we have that confident discussion within the workforce? That's the challenge for us.

We heard earlier from our previous witness that the TUC pays 40 per cent of the employee's childcare when they return to work, and I just wondered if that's something that either of your unions are considering.

11:00

Nid ydy hi'n drafodaeth—

It's not a discussion—

Not formally.

Na, ddim unrhyw drafodaeth rydw i wedi bod ynddi hi.

—that I've been having.

Okay. You can see that that might be a way in which we could begin to encourage other employers to—. I'm aware of other unions who provide a percentage of their employees' childcare costs, but that's not the norm in Unison or your union, Dilwyn.

Nid ydy o'n faes rydw i'n ymwneud efo fo. Ni fyddwn i'n teimlo ei fod o'n iawn i fi siarad am faes nad ydw i'n ymwneud efo fo'n benodol, felly—rhag ofn fy mod i'n camarwain.

It's not an area that I'm involved in. I don't feel that it would be right for me to speak about an area that I'm not involved in, specifically. I don't want to mislead you.

From a Unison-as-an-employer point of view, yes, there are avenues to access support for financial costs, and it would be great to be able to replicate that. I think getting businesses to do that when there are some businesses that are struggling to follow the normal employment policies that they've got, again, it's a challenge.

This is all about the language of choices in your negotiations over pay and conditions. How much prominence are you going to give to conditions, as opposed to pay? Difficult in the current environment, I appreciate that, but one you might like to think about.

Just in terms of communicating the new childcare offer to parents—I know you've said that it's quite complicated—are you taking steps as unions to communicate the offer and to try and make sure that there's sufficient awareness?

Rydym ni'n rhannu gwybodaeth, ydym, efo'n haelodau ni, ond mae yna sawl peth ar y funud lle'r ydym ni'n gweithio ar y cyd ynglŷn ag amodau gwaith yn gyffredinol. Rydw i'n meddwl yn ein hymateb ni i'r ymgynghoriad un peth rydym ni wedi bod yn sôn amdano fo o ran beth ydy'r disgwyliadau, beth ydy'r hawliau, ydy'r ochr addysgu ysgolion, lle mae angen mwy a mwy o godi ymwybyddiaeth a chwalu mythau ynglŷn ag elfennau—y pethau sydd yn codi ofn ar ysgolion, y pethau sy'n pryderu'r ysgolion. Rydw i'n meddwl bod gennym ni job o waith i'w wneud gyda'n gilydd fel cyflogwyr ac undebau ar hynny. Rydw i'n meddwl os ydym ni ishio newid diwylliant, mae'n rhaid inni fod yn cydweithio, ac rydym ni wedi bod yn ddiweddar, onid ydym, ynglŷn â phethau fel llwyth gwaith athrawon. Mae yna lot o waith wedi cael ei wneud yn ddiweddar, gan gynnwys y consortia, yr awdurdodau lleol a ninnau, lle'r ydym ni yn edrych ar beth ydy hawliau a sut mae chwalu rhai o'r mythau sydd yn pryderu'r cyflogwr ac yn pryderu'r cyflogai hefyd.

We share information, yes, with our members, but there are a number of things at the moment where we're working jointly in terms of working conditions in general. I think our response to the consultation was discussing what the expectations are, what the rights are, for the teaching schools side of things, where there is more and more of a need to raise awareness and to shatter myths about the things that do scare schools and concern schools. I think we have a job of work to do together as employers and unions on that. I think, if we want to change the culture, we have to work jointly, and recently, haven't we, we've been working together on things like the workload of teachers. A lot of work has been done recently, including the consortia, the local authorities and ourselves, where we look at what the rights are and how we can shatter some of the myths that are of concern to the employer and also concern employees.

You may, obviously, want to—. I just want to know whether local authorities provide any sort of preferential scheme for their employees upon returning to work, given that local authorities tend to be a childcare operator. I'm aware of some local authorities, not necessarily in Wales, that actually do provide support to their employees. Is that something that you're aware of?

Nid wyf i'n ymwybodol—

I'm not aware—.

Yes, there are different schemes. We've got the childcare voucher scheme, and certain employers do have crèche facilities on site, but, again, it varies. It varies greatly from one employer to the next.

Would you have anything to add to what Dilwyn said in terms of communicating the childcare offer to Unison members, Jenny?

Very similar to Dilwyn. Obviously, the information is cascaded to our members. It tends to be, from our perspective, yes, the information goes out there, but then it's more help and assistance when a member comes to us needing support generally because there's a problem. The information is out there and it's available, but it tends to be when people have issues that they'll come to us and query it, and that's when you get into a bit more of the depth then.

Thank you. Do either of you have an opinion on whether the gender pay gap data of Welsh public authorities should be collated in a single place, similar to the UK Government's gender pay gap portal, because, of course, they're currently on local authority websites?

A ydych chi'n meddwl casglu'r wybodaeth neu argaeledd y wybodaeth?

Do you mean gathering the information or the availability of that information?

11:05

I think there are concerns around how Welsh public authorities actually display their gender pay gap information. With some, it's on their websites, but on others—. 

Wel, mae'n bwysig ein bod ni yn ei gael o a’i fod yn gyson, achos rydym ni yn sôn, o ran athrawon, ynglŷn â sicrhau anghenion y gweithlu. Mae’n rhaid inni fod yn edrych ar y gweithlu. Os ydym ni’n cynllunio’r gweithlu, y mwyaf o wybodaeth sydd gennym ni, y gorau’n y byd fydd hi. Mae’n rhywbeth, rydw i’n meddwl, sydd yn datblygu nawr o ran athrawon yng Nghymru, ac mae angen i wybodaeth fod ar gael a bod yr argaeledd yna ym mhob agwedd, yn enwedig gyda datganoli cyflogau ac amodau gwaith. Mae’n rhaid ein bod ni’n cynllunio’n benodol ar gyfer y gweithlu yng Nghymru, ac felly rydym ni angen y wybodaeth yna a bod y wybodaeth yna ar gael ac ar gael yn hylaw.

Well, it's important that we do get that information and that it's consistent, because in terms of teachers, we're talking about ensuring that the requirements of the workforce are met. We have to look at the workforce. If we're planning the workforce, then the more information that we have, the better. It's something that is developing now in terms of teachers in Wales, but that information does need to be available and that availability does need to be ensured in all aspects of this, especially with the devolution of pay and conditions. We do need to be planning specifically for the workforce in Wales, so we need that Welsh information and that that information is available readily.

Okay. And would you support the current UK Government's gender pay gap—? They have a portal where it's very easy to go on and see. Do you think we should be replicating that here in Wales?

A ydych chi'n gyfarwydd â'r portal, Jenny?

Are you familiar with the portal, Jenny?

Not inside out.

Nid wyf i'n gyfarwydd â'r portal yna, felly mae'n anodd imi wneud sylw penodol, rhag ofn fy mod i’n—. Ond bydd o’n rhywbeth, yn bendant, y bydd yn rhaid inni droi ato fo ar ôl y cyfarfod heddiw.

I'm not familiar with that portal, so it's difficult for me to make specific comments on it, in case I—. But it is something that I will certainly be looking at after this meeting.

I would just add to that. Yes, personally, I would welcome it all in one place. It does help for consistency, it makes reporting a lot easier and it also makes it a lot easier to analyse. Obviously, we've just had the recent gender pay reporting, and we had quite a lot of correspondence, if you like, with employers, that there still isn't clarity over where they're reporting under. Are they reporting under the equalities Act? Are they reporting under the public sector equality duty, in which case, what elements do they need to report on? Are they collecting enough information? Are they collecting too much information? But also, then, once that information is collected, is it meaningful? Because that's another issue of gender pay reporting, too.

O edrych arno fo'n genedlaethol, mae'n rhaid inni edrych arno fo o ran ardaloedd penodol hefyd, achos mae'n rhaid inni edrych—. Mae gennym ni gyfle efo datganoli cyflogau ac amodau gwaith i edrych ar y gweithlu athrawon yn genedlaethol, ond mae’n rhaid inni fod yn edrych arno fo ar lefel ranbarthol hefyd. Os ydych chi’n edrych ar y prosesau rydym ni’n mynd drwyddyn nhw efo diswyddiadau diddiwedd, rydych chi’n edrych ar y cyfleoedd i gael mynediad at swyddi amgen, pan rydych chi’n edrych ar y cyfleoedd i adleoli athrawon i swyddi eraill. Mae hynny’n eithriadol o anodd, pan rydych chi’n byw mewn ardaloedd gwledig lle nad oes yna swyddi ac rydych chi’n colli’ch swydd. Beth ydy goblygiadau hynny? Mae goblygiadau o ran eich datblygiad gyrfa chi, ond mae yna oblygiadau o ran eich bywyd teuluol, achos, yn sydyn, efallai eich bod chi’n gorfodi teithio ymhell, bell. Rydym ni’n dod ar draws athrawon sy’n teithio awr a hanner a mwy i’w hysgolion bob dydd er mwyn cynnal swyddi. Felly, os oes gwybodaeth yn dod, mae’n rhaid inni edrych arno fo ar lefel genedlaethol, fel ein bod ni’n gallu ei ddadansoddi fo—ei fod o’n un hyfyw ond ei fod yn hyblyg hefyd er mwyn ei ddadansoddi fo er lles y gweithlu.

Looking at the national picture, we also need to look at it with regard to specific areas, because we have to look—. We have an opportunity, with the devolution of pay and conditions, to look at the teaching workforce nationally. But we also must be looking at it at a regional level as well. If you look at the processes that we're going through with redundancies, you're looking at the opportunities to have access to alternative posts, when you look at opportunities to relocate teachers to other posts. That's very difficult when you live in rural areas where there are no posts and you lose your job. What are the implications of that? There are ramifications with regard to your career development, but there are also implications with regard to your family life, because you may have to travel far and wide. We've come across teachers who have to travel and hour and a half and more to their schools every day in order to maintain those posts. So, if we do have that information, we need to look at it at a national level, but we should also be able to analyse it and that should be a flexible system, so that we can analyse it for the benefit of the workforce.

Thank you. Also, whether the threshold for gender pay gap reporting for businesses of 250 employees is too high. I mean, does it matter? Should it not be that we should report any gender pay gap in any organisation across Wales, and it shouldn't be—? I mean, some have suggested 100. I have a tendency to believe that the more transparency, the better. But would you suggest 100, or do you think, where there is a gender pay gap, it should be well documented and evidenced?

You're absolutely right; transparency is key. However, I think there are quite a few anomalies that we need to iron out, even at the 250 threshold at the minute. Just to give you an example, talking about schools, for school support staff, they're classed as separate workers to local government, despite the fact that they're local government for bargaining terms and conditions, but they're separate under pay reporting, so none of the schools actually had to be included in those figures. I think there were only two councils that included school support staff, and, as you would imagine, there was a big pay difference. So, I think issues like that need to be addressed, because they are a hidden workforce. You know, you've got school support staff who are dealing with highly sensitive issues, and yet they're low-paid workers. These aren't workers who are filling paint pots anymore; these are highly skilled workers, they're involved in our children's education, and yet are not being included in that reporting. And another example is the social care workforce. I know I keep mentioning about outsourcing workers, but every time we see outsourcing, they're generally going to smaller employers, which are going to be under the 250 threshold, so they haven't got to report those figures. And we are looking at caring, cleaning, catering—they are the low-paid part-time workforce, and the ones who are going to be mostly affected by that.

11:10

Yn union. Ac o ran athrawon, fy mawr obaith i ydy, o gyflwyno cyfundrefn annibynnol i Gymru, lle rydym ni'n edrych ar gyflogaeth ac amodau gwaith athrawon, ein bod ni'n ei wneud o'n rhywbeth sydd yn ehangu i fod yn edrych ar agweddau, fel roeddwn i'n ei ddweud, fel sicrhau cyflogau ac amodau gwaith athrawon, ond edrych ar gynllunio'r gweithlu, ac edrych ar yr holl feysydd sydd yna, er mwyn sicrhau bod gennym ni rywbeth cryf iawn ar gyfer ein haelodau ni, ar draws y sector.

Exactly. And in terms of teachers, my hope is that, in introducing an independent system for Wales, where we look at teachers' pay and conditions, we make it something that expands to be looking at aspects of ensuring teachers' pay and conditions, but looking at workforce planning, and looking at all of the areas that there are, to ensure that it is something that is very robust for our members, across the sector.

Diolch yn fawr. Byddwch chi'n ymwybodol bod y Llywodraeth wedi cyhoeddi adolygiad rhywedd o bolisïau’r Llywodraeth, ac mae'r Prif Weinidog wedi dweud ei fod o eisiau sicrhau bod y cynllun gweithredu ar yr economi a'r cynllun cyflogadwyedd newydd—ac rwy'n dyfynnu ei eiriau fo—'yn cyflawni'r rhethreg mewn perthynas â rhywedd.' Sut ydych chi'n dehongli hynny? Sut ddylai hynny edrych yn y maes yma, ac a ydy hwn yn mynd i fedru gwneud gwahaniaeth? Dechrau efo Jenny, efallai.

Thank you very much. You'll be aware that the Government has announced a gender review of Government policies, and the First Minister has said that he wants to ensure that the new economic action plan and employability plan—and I quote—'deliver on the rhetoric in relation to gender.' How do you interpret that? How should that look in this particular area, and is it going to be able to make a difference? Starting with Jenny, perhaps.

In terms of the rapid review, I don't know whether you are aware, but we hadn't received the rapid review, and it's only something that we've received this week, to be able to comment on, so it's something that we are going through. I appreciate, obviously, the deadline has already passed, but I know we'll have opportunity to feed in to that again. Obviously, in Unison, we work through the workforce partnership council, we would be able to feed through the fair work board—so, those are avenues and we would kind of explore the action plans through those groups.

Nid oeddwn i ddim yn gyfarwydd â'r dyfyniad, ond yr her i ni i gyd ydy mynd y tu hwnt i'r rhethreg, i sicrhau ei fod o'n rhywbeth byw. Ac mae gennym ni ein systemau yn fewnol, o ran yr aelodau, er mwyn cydweithio ar lefel ysgol, awdurdod, consortia, ac yn genedlaethol, lle y bydd yn amlwg y bydd yn rhaid i hynny fod yn rhan ganolog o'r trafodaethau.

I wasn't familiar with the quote, but the challenge for us all is to go beyond the rhetoric, to ensure that it's something that's alive. And we have our internal systems with our members to co-operate on the level of school, consortia, local authority, and national level, and it will be clear that that will have to be a central part of the discussions.

Ond yn benodol o ran y cynllun gweithredu ar yr economi, a'r cynllun cyflogadwyedd, beth o fewn y ddau gynllun yna—beth sy'n bosib i newid yn rheini fel bod y ffocws yn well ar gael gwared ar yr anghydraddoldeb yn y maes rhywedd?

But specifically in terms of the economic action plan and the employability plan, what within those two plans—what's possible in amending those, to ensure that the focus is better, and to get rid of that inequality in the field of gender?

Two key things for myself, when I was going through it: obviously the first is fair work, but I do think there does need to be clear guidance and definition of what is fair work. That's the first thing. And also the focus on care as a foundation sector. I think that will be beneficial for unions, in terms of all the issues I've already mentioned about outsourcing and things, so that we can use that to bargain on going forward.

Do you have a particular definition that you would use? You're saying that we need a clear definition, so—.

Oh, no—I wish I'd have prepared one.

Rwy'n meddwl, efallai, i gael neidio i mewn i achub Jenny fan hyn, er mwy cael diffiniad, mae angen deialog, onid oes, rwy'n meddwl. Rydym ni'n sôn am bartneriaeth, ac fel undebau, rydym ni wedi ymrwymo i'r bartneriaeth yna—rydym ni wedi ymrwymo i gydweithio, ac rydym ni'n mynd nôl wedyn, mewn ffordd, yn gylch cyfan i'r holl bethau rydym ni wedi eu codi ynglŷn â gwella gwybodaeth a dealltwriaeth, yn ôl eto at newid diwylliant. Ac rwy'n meddwl bod yn rhaid i ni gael y deialog yna, ac mae'r diffiniad yn mynd i ddod drwy'r cydweithio rydym ni'n mynd i'w wneud, gobeithio.

I think, perhaps, if I can jump in to save Jenny here, in order to reach a definition, there is a need for dialogue, isn't there? We're talking about partnership, and as unions we have committed to that partnership, we've committed to collaboration, and we then go back in a whole circle to all those issues that we've raised, in terms of improving information and understanding, and back again to this change of culture. And I think we need that dialogue, and hopefully a definition will come through that collaboration.

11:15

O ran y bwrdd gwaith teg yn benodol, rydych chi'n ei feddwl, neu yn gyffredinol?

In terms of the fair work board specifically, or do you think in general?

Yn gyffredinol, o ran y gwaith rydym yn ei wneud, felly.

Generally, in terms of the work that we do.

Ond a oes sgôp i'r bwrdd gwaith teg ddatblygu'r agwedd yma ymhellach wrth i'r gwaith fynd ymlaen? A ydych yn teimlo bod yna rôl iddo fo?

But is there scope for the fair work board to develop this aspect further, as the work goes forward? Do you believe that there's a role for it?

Yes, I think so. As Dilwyn said, it's about looking at that partnership working, to have that dialogue and take that forward.

Not at the moment.

Siân, do you mind if I just bring Bethan in at this stage?

It was on that. Because I heard Julie James yesterday in the Senedd—I'm not sure who asked the question—saying that this work has been done by the fair work commission, but I am perplexed as to why there isn't a definition, if the fair work commission is the fair work commission. So, surely, they would have a definition by virtue of being called the fair work commission. Is that not something that exists or—?

My thoughts exactly.

Because when I was sitting there yesterday, I thought, 'Well, there must therefore be a definition, because it's a body that's been set up to do it'. It seems absurd to me that there wouldn't be a definition. So, I just wondered if you knew what their definition was. Even if you don't know what your definition is, do you know what theirs is? 

Buaswn i wrth fy modd yn medru eich ateb chi'n syth rŵan a byddech yn meddwl, 'Wel, mae hwn yn dda yn gwybod ei waith', ond rwy'n ymddiheuro.

I would be delighted if I could answer you straight away and you would think, 'He knows his work', but I do apologise.

Wel, dim allan o 10 i ti, Dilwyn. [Chwerthin.]

Well, it's nought out of 10 for you then, Dilwyn. [Laughter.]

Ar fy rhestr o waith cartref ydy pasio gwybodaeth ymlaen i chi a gwneud ychydig o ymchwil.

It's on my list of homework. I'll pass the information on to you and I'll do some research.

Rydym yn ymwybodol fod yna dipyn o niwlogrwydd o gwmpas y bwrdd gwaith teg ac mae eisiau clirio hwnnw i fyny. Mae'n fater, efallai, i ni fel pwyllgor ofyn cwestiynau yn ei gylch o.

Mae'r contract economaidd sydd yn rhan o'r gwaith y mae'r Llywodraeth yn ei wneud ar hyn o bryd—rydym yn edrych ymlaen i weld yn union sut y mae hynny'n mynd i weithio. Ond a ydych yn meddwl fod yna rôl i hwnnw, wrth edrych ar anghydraddoldeb rhywiol? A oes ffordd o ddefnyddio hwn i gael gwell dealltwriaeth gan fusnesau a chwmnïau ac yn y blaen am y rhwystrau sydd yn atal merched rhag symud ymlaen efo gyrfaoedd? A oes rhywbeth yn fanna lle gallai manylder y contract economaidd fod o help?

I'm aware that there is a great deal of ambiguity around the work of the fair work board and perhaps this is something that we need to look at and ask questions about.

The economic contract that's part of the Government's work at present—we look forward to seeing exactly how that's going to work, but do you think there's a role for that in looking at gender inequality? Is there a way of using this to get a better understanding by companies, businesses and so on, of the barriers that prevent women from moving forward with their careers? Is there something in the detail of the economic contract that would be of assistance?

O'n rhan ni, rydym yn ymwneud yn benodol efo ysgolion, ond drwy'r awdurdodau—

From our point of view, we are involved directly with schools, through the authorities—

Nid yw'n berthnasol, mewn ffordd, i waith athrawon.

It's not relevant, in a way, to the work of teachers.

Na, ac mae'r her yna i ni. Dyna pam, unwaith eto, rwy'n pwysleisio fy mod yn ei weld yn gyfle arbennig, trwy greu'r gyfundrefn lle rydym yn edrych ar bethau yn benodol i Gymru a dweud, 'Dyma rydym wedi ymgyrchu arno a dyma beth fydd safiad yr undeb o'r cychwyn cyntaf'. Mae'n rhaid iddo fo weithio mewn tair ffordd: efo'r cyflogwr, efo'r Llywodraeth ac efo'r undebau hefyd yn fanna. Ac wrth gwrs, bydd yn un o'r meysydd y byddwn ni'n edrych arno fo.

No, and that's a challenge for us. That's why, once more, I emphasise to you that I see it as a great opportunity, by creating this system where we look at things specifically for Wales and say, 'This is what we have campaigned for and this is the stand of the union from the very beginning.' It has to work in three ways: with the employer, with the Government, and with the unions as well. Of course, it's one of the areas that we will be looking at.

Ac o ran, wedyn, y saith sector sylfaen, rydych chi wedi sôn am y ffaith bod gofal, yn amlwg, yn bwysig o fewn y themâu yna. A ydych chi'n gweld fod hynny'n codi cyfleon rŵan i ni fynd at wraidd rhai o'r problemau?

And in terms of the seven thematic sectors, you've said that care is obviously important within those particular themes. Does that offer opportunities now for us to get to the root of this problem?

I'm not quite sure how to answer it. In terms of feeding into the plans, as I say, we've got other avenues within Unison Wales to feed in formally, and it wasn't something that we looked at specifically in the consultation. Obviously, I'm here to represent the women members.

In terms of the economic contract, we're talking about fair work, and basically, if public money is going to businesses to make them an inclusive workplace, that's a good thing, and that's something that we as trade unions can use going forward, because we can use that to strengthen—. You know, if it's going to be a TUPE arrangement, we can use that for strengthening, going forward; we can use it as a tool in our armoury.

Ac yn olaf, ynglŷn â chyngor gyrfaoedd, a ydych chi'n teimlo fod cyngor gyrfaoedd wedi cael ei deilwra'n ddigonol i helpu menywod sy'n dod o hyd i waith neu'n dychwelyd i waith ar ôl cael plentyn?

Finally, regarding careers advice, do you feel that careers advice is sufficiently tailored to help women seek work or return to work after having a child?

Rwy'n meddwl ein bod ni'n mynd yn ôl eto at gapasiti. O ran y sector addysg, rydym yn edrych ar gapasiti a'r diffyg neu'r torri sydd wedi digwydd yn y gyrfaoedd. Roeddwn i'n sôn yn gynharach ynglŷn â lle mae'r drafodaeth datblygiad gyrfa yna'n digwydd. Mae yna reoli perfformiad yn digwydd i athrawon yn flynyddol, ac mae yna drafodaeth yn y fanna ynglŷn â beth mae rhywun yn ceisio'i gyflawni a lle mae rhywun yn mynd nesaf. Ond lle mae'r drafodaeth annibynnol yna mewn ffordd? Roeddwn i'n sôn am y cyfarfod y bues i ynddo fo ddoe, yn trafod disgwyliadau allan o yrfa. Beth ydy disgwyliadau rhywun o'i yrfa? Lle ydych chi'n troi am y drafodaeth yna?

Felly, fy mhryder i ar y funud ydy'r diffyg capasiti i gael y drafodaeth yna, a'r diffyg amgylchedd neu hinsawdd sydd yna ar gyfer y drafodaeth hefyd, ar adeg pan fo athrawon yn gyson o dan fygythiad colli swyddi. Felly, mae'r cwmwl yna. Pan oeddwn i'n dechrau, roeddwn i bob amser yn paratoi fy hunain ar gyfer y gwanwyn, lle roeddwn i'n gwybod bod yna ddiswyddiadau mawr yn digwydd, ond erbyn hyn, mae'n mynd o un don i'r llall. Mae'n effeithio ar les a morâl. Mae'n effeithio ar iechyd pobl, pan fyddwch chi'n meddwl, 'A ydych chi'n cymryd cyfrifoldeb?' Rydych chi'n dod yn ôl, efallai, i gymryd cyfrifoldeb, dywedwch, fel taliad CAD, achos rydych chi'n gwybod, petai yna broses diswyddo, 'Os nad oes gen i'r cyfrifoldeb yna, efallai mai fi ydy'r person mwyaf bregus yn yr ysgol'. Ac wedyn mae hynny, efallai, yn amlygu'r posibiliad bod rhywun mewn sefyllfa mwy bregus ar sail rhyw. Mae angen meddwl o ddifrif lle mae'r drafodaeth yna ar gyngor ar yrfa.

I think we go back again to capacity. In terms of the education sector, we are looking at capacity and the cuts that are happening in careers advice. I was mentioning earlier where that discussion on professional development is happening. There is the annual performance management of teachers, and that involves a discussion on what one is trying to achieve and where they're going to go next. But where is that independent discussion? I was talking about that meeting that I was in yesterday, discussing just career expectations. What are the expectations in terms of somebody's career development? Where do you turn to for that discussion?

So, my concern at the moment is the lack of capacity to have that discussion and the fact that the climate for that discussion doesn't exist, when teachers are regularly under threat of losing their jobs. So, that cloud is there. When I started, I was always preparing myself for the spring, when I knew there were redundancies, but now it's going from one wave to the next. It does affect morale and well-being. It affects people's health, when they think, 'Should I take additional responsibility?' or come back, perhaps, to take responsibility, as with the TLR payment, because they'd know, if there were to be a redundancy process, 'If I don't have that responsibility, I could be the most vulnerable person in the school'. And then that could highlight the possibility of someone in a more vulnerable position on the basis of gender. There is a need to think seriously about that discussion on career advice.

11:20

Beth rydych chi'n ei ddweud ydy nad yw o'n flaenoriaeth.

So, what you're saying is that it's not a priority.

Na, achos ar y funud mae'r awdurdodau lleol i'r asgwrn. Mae'r ysgolion i'r asgwrn hefyd. Mae defnyddio'r gair 'argyfwng'—nid yw o'n amhriodol.

No, because at the moment local authorities are being cut to the bone, as well as schools. To use the word 'crisis' wouldn't be inappropriate.

Mi fyddai rhywun yn tybio, efallai, yn y maes dysgu, oherwydd bod yna gymaint o ferched yn rhan o'r proffesiwn addysg, y byddai yna, efallai, dipyn bach mwy o drafodaeth ar faterion fel hyn na sydd yna mewn meysydd eraill. Ond nid dyna ydy'r—. Nid yw o'n gwneud gwahaniaeth. 

One would think, perhaps, in the field of education, because so many women are part of the education profession, that there would be more of a discussion on these kinds of issues than in other areas. But that's not the—. It doesn't make a difference.

Na, a dyna pam rydw i'n neidio ar y cyfle sydd yna, efallai, i Gymru o'r diwedd gael edrych ar ôl ei chyflogau ac amodau ei hunan am y tro cyntaf erioed. Mae o'n gyfle y mae'n rhaid i ni afael ynddo fo i gyd i sicrhau ein bod ni'n cymryd pethau sbesiffig y gweithle yng Nghymru i ystyriaeth. Byddai hynny hefyd nid yn unig yn gwarchod y gweithlu sydd yna'n barod, ond yn cynllunio ar gyfer gweithlu'r dyfodol ac arferion da cyflogaeth yn y dyfodol.

No, and that's why I'm jumping at the opportunity that exists perhaps, for Wales to at last look after its own pay and conditions for the first time ever. This is as an opportunity that we all have to grasp to ensure that we take the specific issues relating to the workforce in Wales into consideration. That would not only safeguard the workforce that exists at the moment, but also plan for the future workforce and future employment good practice.

Beth ydy'r profiad o fewn y sector cymorthyddion, ac yn y blaen, o ran cyngor gyrfaoedd? Llai byth, siŵr o fod.

What's the experience of assistants and so on, with regard to careers advice? Even less, I'd imagine.

Yes, definitely. I haven't got any specific feedback, but, yes, it's very, very limited. Obviously, we would welcome tailored advice for women and opportunities for women to be able to enhance their career, and I think that's an interesting choice, isn't it—careers advice? Because quite often, women are taking jobs not necessarily for a career, but just because they've got an income that fits in with their family situation. So, it's great to have that, but, as Dilwyn has said, budgets are squeezed, and the availability of that support, and how it looks and how accessible it is, is a factor.

Are there any examples of good practice? Maybe you can think about that and send anything through. It would be good to find where it actually does work well, and where that has helped individuals to rethink, maybe, and give them that confidence and encouragement to pursue their career.

Yes, just on this directly, as you said, when I first raised the issue of teaching support staff—. They're funded in a different way. So, is that a problem in terms of career progression? Because we know that there are teaching assistants that could progress to become teachers but they might not often be given that support because of the different avenues of who they go to for advice or who they are responsible to. So, I was just wondering if that was a barrier as well?

It's interesting. From a Unison perspective, when we had the EWC and professional registration coming in, we wanted to have an additional offer, if you like, so we decided to put together professional development courses—just one-day courses—on a Saturday. Now, given that it was on a Saturday in people's own time, we weren't sure if we were going to get the take-up. That was three years ago, and, on average, we're having 400 to 500 going through those courses a year. Now, that is a testament to their commitment and their passion for their job—the fact that they're doing it as a vocation. They're certainly not doing it for the pay. It just goes to show that they want that professional development, and we should be in a position where we can say, 'You can do this training in school time.' Teachers are in a lucky position, in that they've got their inset day, they can arrange that training and they can go along. Quite often, school support staff are saying they may not even be paid to go in on that inset day and, if they are, it might very well be sorting out a classroom or tidying up, or, best-case scenario, sitting in on the teacher training, which is great, but it's not necessarily geared to the school support staff themselves.

I've lost track of your original question. [Laughter.]

11:25

Ond, yn gysylltiedig â hynny—yn mynd nôl at y nifer o athrawon sydd yn gwneud gwaith cyflenwi ac yn gweithio drwy asiantaethau ac wedi cael eu colli, rydw i'n meddwl bod yna fwy o ymwybyddiaeth gan awdurdodau lleol nawr ac ar lefel consortia fod y bobl yma'n allweddol i'r gweithlu. Ein pryder ni ar hyd yr amser—rydym ni wedi ymateb i hwn sawl gwaith—ydy'r diffyg hyfforddiant proffesiynol y maen nhw'n ei gael fel athrawon cyflenwi. Rydym ni'n sôn am waith yr undebau—rydym ni wedi bod yn pwysleisio eu bod nhw'n rhan allweddol o'r gweithlu. Mae yna bethau anhygoel o bwysig yn digwydd o ran y cwricwlwm newydd a newidiadau anghenion dysgu ychwanegol, ac mae gofyn iddynt hwythau, fel pawb arall, fod yn gwbl ymwybodol o'r datblygiadau diweddaraf. Felly, rydw i'n meddwl ein bod ni'n dechrau mynd i'r afael â hynny, ond mae yna ffordd i fynd.

Related to that, going back to the number of teachers that do supply work through agencies and have been lost, I think there's a greater awareness from local authorities and on the consortia level that these people are vitally important to the workforce. Our concern has always been—we've responded to this several times—the lack of professional development that they have as supply teachers. We talk about the work of the unions—we've been pushing and emphasising that they are a key part of the workforce. There are vitally important things happening with regard to the new curriculum and changes with regard to additional learning needs, and they, as does everyone else, have to be aware of the most recent developments. So, I think we're starting to get to grips with that, but there is a way to go.

In terms of planning the future workforce, at least one of you mentioned that caring at the moment is not well paid, but, with the fourth digital revolution, knowledge accumulation will be done by robots more effectively. Machines can do that—organising knowledge—but caring can only be done by people. So, I just wondered if you'd given any thought to how the role of carers—and that includes teachers or a part of teachers' work—might actually be enhanced in the future so that they're better paid and that also we acknowledge all those skills that women are traditionally very good at?

Perhaps it's something that we could respond to at a later date, having given it a bit more thought.

Okay, fine. But I think it's something we need to think about.

If you wish to provide a view on that, some thoughts on that, in writing subsequently, then we'd be very grateful.

Okay, well, thank you both are coming in today to give evidence to committee this morning? You will be sent a transcript to check for factual accuracy. Diolch yn fawr.

Diolch yn fawr iawn ichi.

Thank you very much.

Thank you very much.

4. Papurau i'w Nodi
4. Papers to Note

The next item that we have today is item 4, papers to note. We have two papers. Paper 4 is notes of the focus group discussions with regard to this inquiry, and paper 5 is a letter from the Minister for Housing and Regeneration, the Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services, and the Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs with regard to our letter on fire safety. Is committee content to note both those papers?

I think we should do more than note the second one. I think there are some substantive issues that we are going to need to take forward.

That's what I was going to say. What are we going to do, because there's some stuff in there we could be discussing as a committee? I'm happy to do so in private, but—

Perhaps we'll return to it, then, in private session. Okay. Thanks very much.

5. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42(vi) i Benderfynu Gwahardd y Cyhoedd o Weddill y Cyfarfod ac o Eitem 1 yn y Cyfarfod ar 3 Mai 2018
5. Motion under Standing Order 17.42(vi) to Resolve to Exclude the Public for the Remainder of the Meeting and from Item 1 of the Meeting on 3 May 2018

Cynnig:

bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod ac eitem 1 yn y cyfarfod ar 3 Mai 2018 yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).

Motion:

that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting and from item 1 on 3 May 2018 in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

The next item on the agenda is a motion to move into private session under Standing Order 17.42 and to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of this meeting. Is committee content to do so?

Okay, thank you very much. We will move into private session.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 11:29.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 11:29.

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