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Living Wage hits 100!

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Living Wage Movement Aotearoa New Zealand is thrilled to announce that Otago Chocolate Company (OCHO) has become the 100th accredited Living Wage Employer in New Zealand.

“Paying fair wages to workers is a core value of OCHO. We are delighted to become an accredited Living Wage Employer,” says Dr Jim O’Malley, founder of the factory.

“We intend becoming a sustainable business over the long term and that includes paying people a fair wage and paying farmers a fair price for cocoa beans,” he says.

Last year OCHO joined forces with the group protesting the closure of the Cadbury factory and crowd-funded to raise $2m in equity to expand OCHO and keep chocolate making skills and jobs alive in Dunedin.

From the tragedy of Cadbury closure, a phoenix has risen from the ashes giving hope to workers in Dunedin that well paid jobs will remain.

“If a business can’t make a profit unless it pays the minimum wage, then it shouldn’t be in business. I don’t want to work for a company that thinks paying people less than the Living Wage is okay, because it’s not,” Jim says.

“It is great our 100th Living Wage Employer is a company dedicated to a prosperous local economy where there are decent well-paying jobs because that’s what the Living Wage Movement is all about,” says National Convenor, Annie Newman.

From small beginnings in 2014 when West Auckland fine arts printing firm, Opticmix, became a Living Wage Employer, the brand has grown exponentially to be adopted by small, medium and large firms, including the corporate, Vector.

“We are proud of the decision we made to be a Living Wage Employer. They said small businesses couldn't do it, but it was small businesses that stepped up and provided leadership,” says Opticmix director, Kevin Church.

“We are a small company but see that as no impediment to paying someone a fair wage which recognises their contribution to our combined endeavours. If we felt unable to pay a Living Wage to someone working with us, we would need to look at the viability of our business,” says Kevin.

  • Source: A Living Wage Aotearoa Movement NZ release