Freedom of Information requests by the BBC have found that most Welsh councils are paying staff less than the Foundation Living Wage.
Altogether, the research reveals that 15 of 22 Welsh councils do not have a commitment to paying all staff £8.45 an hour.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Local Government Secretary, Janet Finch-Saunders, said the problem was particularly acute amongst agency staff – many of whom cost local authorities well over the Foundation Living Wage due to agency fees.
“The Welsh Conservatives have long supported the Foundation Living Wage, and we want the public sector to lead the way in its implementation.
“We believe in aspiration, and want to see hard work rewarded with fair pay.
“Unfortunately, councils are becoming increasingly reliant upon agency staff – many of whom cost more than the voluntary living wage, without receiving it themselves.
“That needs to be addressed, and agency fees should be proportionate.
“It’s worth noting that changes to pay by the UK Government will benefit 150,000 Welsh workers by 2020, but we want to see action in the public sector to improve pay levels.
“Anything which can further improve the living standards of the hardworking people of Wales should be explored.”