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September 17th 2015

ABPCO to host debate on the Living Wage campaign

Heather Lishman image by Heather Lishman

ABPCO’s association director Heather Lishman looks ahead to a debate on the Living Wage campaign.

On Friday 16th October, invited meetings and events professionals will gather at Church House Conference Centre to debate one of the hottest topics in our industry right now – the Living Wage.

ABPCO and M&IT Magazine joined forces back in July to promote the Living Wage within the events industry. It is something we are passionate about and we want the campaign to address questions on behalf of event professionals everywhere. At present, the hotel and hospitality sectors are rated as some of the worst offenders when it comes to not paying their frontline employees the living wage. The Centre for Research in Social Policy found that 90% of workers in the hospitality sector are paid under the living wage and, whilst it is not enforceable, people are now starting to question whether this is morally right.

At present employees in these sectors should expect £9.15 per hour in London and £7.85 for the rest of the UK. The positive news is that some companies are beginning to react and make a change. One of the first conference venues to be accredited was Sundial Group’s Barnett Hill and the campaign is now urging event buyers to put the Living Wage at the top of their agenda when it comes to selecting a venue.
Support is growing and this is superb news but we are not so blind that we accept there will not be challenges to face when adopting the Living Wage and this is why a debate has been organised. It is important that the campaign is debated from all angles so it ultimately ensures that what is best for the industry is recognised and implemented.

The debate will be taking place as part of the Britain for Events campaign, during National Events Month #NEMO which ABPCO are an active supporter of and that gives us a fantastic opportunity to gain real focus for the Living Wage campaign.

Michael Hirst OBE, Chair of the Business Visits & Events Partnership, comments: “It’s good to see the industry taking this issue on well ahead of the introduction of the new National Living Wage next April. There’s a balance to be struck between implementing the proposed new wage rates with ensuring business services and profitability are safeguarded. I congratulate ABPCO and M&IT for leading on this important issue and helping the Industry respond to what could be a major impact on operational costs.”

Those attending the debate, moderated by Martin Lewis, include:

• Robin Parker – Church House Conference Centre
• Des Mclaughlin, Grass Roots Meetings & Events
• Hannah Richardson – KPMG London
• Laura Brookes – KPMG London
• Tim Chudley – Sundial Group
• Claudia Douglass – Innovision
• Rachael Betts – on behalf of the MIA

M&IT Magazine will be featuring a roll call of living wage accredited venues, plus those who are committed to paying the rate. They will however be carrying interviews from both sides of the argument to debate and discuss how the Living Wage can make both ethical and business sense.

If you’d like to join the debate and you are interested in attending the event on Friday 16th October then please contact me at heatherlishman@abpco.org or post your thoughts and opinions on M&IT’s mailbag.

You can learn more about the Living Wage campaign by heading here.

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