Excellent piece by Bernard Hickey in The Herald this morning.
Living wage is good for everyone
Money in workers’ pockets gives them cash to spend and boosts the economy.
The piece begins with Hickey’s account of a positive experience at The Warehouse, then…
The Warehouse is one of a growing number of companies paying a “Living Wage”. From August 1, it started paying 4100 of its workers a “Career Retailer Wage” of at least $18.50 an hour. To qualify, they must have full training and 5000 hours’ experience. It represents a pay increase of 10-20 per cent.
Warehouse CEO Mark Powell estimated it would cost almost $6 million in extra wages, but it was an investment worth making. “The front-line in retail starts on the shop floor with enthusiastic team members and the competitive reality is that if customers aren’t served well, a business will ultimately fail,” Powell said. …
The Living Wage movement is one response to the growing realisation that slowing economic growth is partly because of a falling share of income going to wages, which depresses demand and investment.
Circuit breakers are needed to boost productivity and wages, and this is one of them. The Warehouse is hoping it will be a circuit breaker for their sales, profits and share price. For now, the Red Sheds have become the place where everyone gets enough of a Living Wage to buy those bargains.
Go read the whole piece. Makes sense doesn’t it.