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Council's decision a win for local democracy

A move by the Hutt City Council to take heed of its community and pay its workers the living wage has been welcomed by the PSA.

Councillors voted in favour of introducing a living wage for all staff at a meeting of its Community Plan Committee on Wednesday night.

The decision means 230 council staff will see their pay bumped to $20.55 from July 1 this year.

The move comes after a survey of Hutt City residents found 49 percent of those who responded wanted a living wage introduced this year.

PSA organiser Christine Pattison welcomed the council’s decision.

"It’s great to see the council has listened to its ratepayers and chosen to pay staff a fairer wage for the work that they do.

"It had initially been reluctant to make this move, however a survey of council constituents has clearly been enough to change councillor’s minds.

Ms Pattison said the council’s consideration over whether to pay its staff a living wage had been weighed against its desire to remain cost-effective.

"In the end the council has listened to the will of the people, some of whom are the very council workers who will benefit from a fairer wage."

Ms Pattison said the positive decision over wages had been the result of a combined effort by the PSA, and the Hutt City living wage movement working with the council.

The wage decision would also have a knock-on benefit for the wider Hutt City community, Ms Pattison says.

"Council employees who will now be paid the living wage will feel more financially secure and won’t have to work two jobs to make ends meet."
"The children of these workers are also likely to have a greater level of opportunity than before.

"These workers will also have more disposable income to be able to plough back into the local economy."

Hutt City Council had joined the ranks of Wellington City Council, Auckland City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Councils in paying its staff the living wage.

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