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Living wage forum a chance to exchange ideas

Living wage forum a chance to exchange ideas

Massey University will launch its living wage research project with a forum where those from all sides of the issue can share ideas and experiences.

Called ‘The Living Wage in Context’, the event will bring together a panel representing small employers, the Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) and living wage campaigners to share their perspectives. The panel discussion will then be followed by a Q&A session with input from the audience.

“The purpose of the event is to provide a forum for information and ideas flow,” says project co-leader Professor Jane Parker from Massey’s School of Management.

“We are really testing the temperature in the community – how are different groups feeling about the idea of introducing a living wage and are opinions converging or diverging?

“The event is also a springboard for our broader research project. We want to involve as many stakeholders as possible and this forum will help us make those connections. The information that comes out of the discussions will also provide context that will shape the way we approach the research project, including mapping out policy considerations.”

The forum panel wil be made up of:

• Annie Newman, Living Wage Aotearoa NZ

• David Lowe, EMA Northern

• Diana Yukisch, Opticmix

• Jesse Chambers, Chalmers Organics

Professor Parker says Massey’s living wage research project aims to go beyond the usual economic analysis to look at how a living wage affects employees and what it means for productivity and retention for employers.

“One of the key objectives of the evening will be to find out what it really means when you introduce a living wage in practice,” she says.

“We have a small firm in Optikmix that has recently implemented a living wage so they will have fresh insights into the challenges and the processes they went through to make that decision.”

Professor Parker acknowledges that the living wage is a controversial issue, especially when increasing inequality is becoming one of the main battlegrounds in this year’s election campaign.

“A recent Treasury report argues, for example, that a living wage will do little to alleviate household poverty while adding to employer costs. Yet employers like the Warehouse Group have linked higher wages to staff retention and development.

“What we’re missing is the empirical research into the process and effects of introducing a living wage – and that’s what we’re trying to achieve with this project.”

The living wage scoping, engagement and assessment project is being managed by MPOWER, the Massey People, Organisation, Work and Employment Research hub at Massey University.

The project team is being led by Professor Jane Parker from the School of Management and Professor Stuart Carr from the School of Psychology. It will report its findings in late 2014.

Event details:

Date: Wednesday March 26

Time: 4.00pm-7.00pm

Venue: Atrium Round Room, Atrium Building, Albany Campus, Massey University

RSVP: Lindsay Eastgate at MPOWER@massey.ac.nz by Monday March 24.

Cost: Free


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