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Living Wages Sue Konzelmann, Director LCCGE, s.konzelmann@bbk.ac.uk Toby Webb, Ethical Corporation, toby.webb@ethicalcorp....
Living Wages A living wage is ‘a wage that achieves an adequate level of warmth and shelter, a healthy palatable diet, soc...
Living Wages <ul><li>Historical Roots </li></ul><ul><li>Early history </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rerum Novarum (1891) </li></ul...
Living Wages <ul><li>Poverty threshold wage: £6.65 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Average (rounded to nearest 5 pence) of </li></ul...
Living Wages <ul><li>Living Wage Employer Award </li></ul><ul><li>The  Living Wage Employer Award  recognizes ethical empl...
Living Wages <ul><li>The Critics </li></ul><ul><li>A wage floor is harmful to low wage workers, employers and society as a...
Living Wages <ul><li>The Proponents </li></ul><ul><li>The academic literature: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Living wage provision...
Living Wages <ul><li>For the Debate </li></ul><ul><li>Whose responsibility is it to make sure that working people make a d...
Living Wages <ul><li>EC Findings – the Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Tangible action </li></ul><ul><li>Supply chains or living ...
Living Wages EC Findings – the Players Employers:  supplier codes of conduct, job security, decent hours, safe working con...
Living Wages Dozens of definitions & methods for measuring & transferring income. Just a few… Decent work   Forms of capit...
Living Wages <ul><li>EC Findings - What’s ahead? </li></ul><ul><li>Adjusted cost of living used for relocated managers </l...
Living Wages <ul><li>Your views… </li></ul><ul><li>Whose responsibility is it to make sure that working people make a dece...
Living Wages ‘ How to embed corporate responsibility across different parts of your company’ WWW.ETHICALCORP.COM/CSR If yo...
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EC LCCGE Debate on Living Wages 27 08 09

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Ethical Corporation and the LCCGE hosted a roundtable debate on living wages and the responsibility of corporations.

See www.ethicalcorp.com/csr for related research findings.

Published in: Business, Career
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Transcript of "EC LCCGE Debate on Living Wages 27 08 09"

  1. 1. Living Wages Sue Konzelmann, Director LCCGE, s.konzelmann@bbk.ac.uk Toby Webb, Ethical Corporation, toby.webb@ethicalcorp.com Pam Muckosy, Ethical Corporation, pam.muckosy@ethicalcorp.com Roundtable Debate on Living Wages Birkbeck, 27 August 2009
  2. 2. Living Wages A living wage is ‘a wage that achieves an adequate level of warmth and shelter, a healthy palatable diet, social integration and avoidance of chronic stress for earners and their dependents.’ (Family Budget Unit 2009)
  3. 3. Living Wages <ul><li>Historical Roots </li></ul><ul><li>Early history </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rerum Novarum (1891) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Turn of century legislative reform movement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quadragesimo Anno (1931) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Modern living wage movement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Baltimore Living Wage Act (1994) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>London Living Wage Campaign (2001) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>London Living Wage Unit (2004) </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Living Wages <ul><li>Poverty threshold wage: £6.65 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Average (rounded to nearest 5 pence) of </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Basic Living Cost Approach: the wage required to meet a ‘low cost but acceptable’ budget for a typical family (£6.45) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Distribution of Income Approach: 60% of median hourly wage (£6.80) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>London Living Wage: £7.60 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Add 15% to un-rounded poverty threshold wage </li></ul></ul>Source: Guardian.co.uk 22 May 2009 London Wage Unit Calculation & Current Figures 20 % 47 % 15 % £7.60 London Living Wage 15 % 37 % 10 % £6.65 Poverty Threshold wage 10 % £5.73 National Minimum wage Full & P-time Part-time Full-time Percent of GLA workers earning below various wage levels Earnings per hour:
  5. 5. Living Wages <ul><li>Living Wage Employer Award </li></ul><ul><li>The Living Wage Employer Award recognizes ethical employment and ethical procurement practice </li></ul><ul><li>All staff must be: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>paid at least the Living Wage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Eligible for at least 20 days paid holiday a year plus bank holidays </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Eligible for at least 10 days sick leave a year </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allowed free access to a trade union </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Living Wages <ul><li>The Critics </li></ul><ul><li>A wage floor is harmful to low wage workers, employers and society as a whole </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Low wage workers become unattractive to potential employers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased cost of living reduces buying power of low wage earners, leaving them no better off </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Costs of production, inefficiency and inflation are also increased </li></ul></ul><ul><li>There are less disruptive ways of delivering income to the poor </li></ul>
  7. 7. Living Wages <ul><li>The Proponents </li></ul><ul><li>The academic literature: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Living wage provisions are not found to be associated with job losses or worker displacement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There is evidence of productivity increases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased cost pressure provides incentives for firms to seek efficiency and cost savings elsewhere </li></ul></ul><ul><li>London Economics Study (2009) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Benefits: recruitment & retention, absenteeism & sick leave, productivity, morale & motivation, reputation, employee financial & welfare benefits, workplace change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ There is a real business case for organizations to implement the London Living Wage.’ (p. 4) </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Living Wages <ul><li>For the Debate </li></ul><ul><li>Whose responsibility is it to make sure that working people make a decent living? </li></ul><ul><li>How much is enough? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Living Wages <ul><li>EC Findings – the Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Tangible action </li></ul><ul><li>Supply chains or living wages? </li></ul><ul><li>Blame governments or employers? </li></ul><ul><li>Wage levels are always on the campaigner/trade union agenda </li></ul><ul><li>No consistent definition </li></ul><ul><li>Inconsistent application </li></ul><ul><li>Labour union-NGO tension </li></ul><ul><li>Who should bear the added cost? </li></ul><ul><li>Ignores agricultural and informal sectors </li></ul><ul><li>Wages set by global (not national) D & S of labour </li></ul>
  10. 10. Living Wages EC Findings – the Players Employers: supplier codes of conduct, job security, decent hours, safe working conditions, training & development, & contribution to the local economy. Government: social security, minimum wage, supporting select industries , defining and mandating a living wage. NGOs: research, campaigns, translate the local context & define living wages, & provide a platform for discussion. Unions: collective power, negotiations, & keep the debate going.
  11. 11. Living Wages Dozens of definitions & methods for measuring & transferring income. Just a few… Decent work Forms of capital Livelihoods LED & VCA & Inclusive growth Direct transfers Access Basic needs Vulnerability
  12. 12. Living Wages <ul><li>EC Findings - What’s ahead? </li></ul><ul><li>Adjusted cost of living used for relocated managers </li></ul><ul><li>Research and plan for smaller margins </li></ul><ul><li>Campaign or legislate retailers </li></ul><ul><li>Government use of an inclusive tri-partite process </li></ul><ul><li>Campaign & work with employers to implement living wage </li></ul><ul><li>FLA wage ladder </li></ul><ul><li>Integrate living wage into a social audit </li></ul>
  13. 13. Living Wages <ul><li>Your views… </li></ul><ul><li>Whose responsibility is it to make sure that working people make a decent living? </li></ul><ul><li>How much is enough? </li></ul>
  14. 14. Living Wages ‘ How to embed corporate responsibility across different parts of your company’ WWW.ETHICALCORP.COM/CSR If you would like internal training, or to be added to our mailing list, please email me at Pam.Muckosy@ethicalcorp.com or visit www.ethicalcorp.com/training
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