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The race is on to become NZ’s first living wage city

21 May 2013

The race is on to become New Zealand’s first living wage city

“The race is on to become to New Zealand’s first living wage city,” said Annie Newman, the National Convenor of Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand, today.

“Both Auckland and Wellington City are currently exploring the benefits of becoming living wage councils and today we congratulate Hamilton City Councillors who have backed a living wage for directly-employed staff.”

Annie Newman said all over the world local authorities have led the way in implementing the living wage and it is clear that large New Zealand cities are lining up to be first.

“This is not surprising, as it is unacceptable that the workforce for any of our local authorities earns less than the living wage of $18.40,” she said. “We urge Hamilton to include all their workforce and commit to a plan to pay both directly employed staff and contracted staff the living wage.”

Annie Newman said the definition of a living wage city all over the world is one where all staff – directly employed and employed by contractors — are paid the living wage. This is the case in the UK where 20 per cent of councils have become living wage councils, including at the Greater London, where the living wage has been entrenched for over 10 years and is paid to the entire workforce.

“We know, all over New Zealand, council cleaners, security, catering and waste workers are being paid rates well below the living wage. Those workers are also the responsibility of councils,” she said.

Annie Newman said living wage movements were now emerging all around New Zealand.

“Wherever this is happening, local living wage movements are calling for local and central government and large corporates to lead the way and pay all their workforce the living wage.”

ENDS

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