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Lowest paid need living wage most of all

21 May 2013

Lowest paid need living wage most of all

The Service and Food Workers Union Ngā Ringa Tota has congratulated Hamilton City Councillors who have voted today to bring in a living wage over the next two years, but asked them to include the lowest paid in their workforce.

“While it is important to back the principle of the living wage, that principle is about all workers, both directly-employed and contracted, being paid enough to live decent lives,” said SFWU National Secretary John Ryall.

“Our members, who are employed to work for councils all across New Zealand as cleaners, security guards and in a range of other service roles, are frequently employed by contractors and are on some of the very lowest pay rates in the country,” he said.

“Many of these workers struggle to survive and we are asking all local bodies to address this and lead the way in their communities by paying them a living wage.”

John Ryall said SFWU members were actively campaigning for a living wage, alongside faith-based and community organisations and other unions.

“Our Union is deeply committed to the living wage movement as a way to address poverty and inequality in New Zealand by lifting low pay,” he said. “We are looking to councils like Hamilton Council to address poverty and inequality in their community by committing to ensuring all staff are paid the living wage.

“The living wage movement is strongly growing around the world, and making sure contracted staff are paid the living wage is the hall-mark of living wage councils.”

John Ryall said there were many benefits of paying the living wage, which was demonstrated overseas to reduce turnover, increase staff loyalty and improve the reputation of businesses and cities.


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