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Small Business Backing For The Living Wage

4 September 2013

Small Business Backing For The Living Wage

Small businesses have today spoken out about their decision to back the living wage.

Phil Jones, the general manager of medium-sized Wellington printing business, Thames Publications, said he strongly supports the living wage.

“I don’t know how people can live on very low wages,” he said. “I support the living wage because it’s the ethical thing to do, but it’s also good for business.”

Phil Jones said paying decent wages meant lower staff turnover and better morale. “Our workers work hard and they deserve to be paid well,” he said.

Diana Yukich, managing director of Auckland company, Opticmix Ltd., agreed.

“Although our business currently employs only one worker, as a small business employing staff for the first time it helped us to use the living wage as a benchmark,” she said.

“We want our staff to be able to survive on what we pay them. We also want to make sure that the time and energy we put into training staff has positive outcomes for them and us.”

Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand national convenor Annie Newman said media reports that the living wage of $18.40 an hour will be compulsory and lead to the demise of small businesses showed a lack of understanding of how the living wage works.

“When the independently-calculated figure of $18.40 an hour was announced in February, Living Wage Aotearoa NZ called on central and local government and wealthy corporates to take a lead,” she said.

“At the same time the living wage movement undertook to support and encourage small businesses to take steps to implement the living wage. We have been pleased at the response from small businesses that see the benefits of paying the living wage.”

Annie Newman said international evidence showed that paying a living wage was good for business in terms of reducing staff turnover and, better morale and that is good for productivity.

She said small and large businesses, in cities such as London which embraced the living wage over 10 years ago, being a living wage business gave a competitive edge.

“New Zealanders know the low wage economy is not working. There are many benefits of the living wage,” she said.

“Not only do workers and businesses benefit, but communities benefit because workers spend their money in the local economy purchasing from local businesses. In this way we can build a thriving economy.”


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