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Wellington Regional Council to become Living Wage employer?

27 September 2016 Media Release: Wellington Regional Council set to become a Living Wage Employer?

Wellington Regional Council will vote on a motion to pay staff and contractors a Living Wage this Wednesday, 28 September, at its last meeting before the election.

The motion to become an accredited Living Wage employer is from Councillor Sue Kedgley, who expects the Council to agree.

“I'm hopeful the Council will adopt my motion for the Council to become a Living Wage Council that pays its directly employed staff a living wage, and adopt a phased approach to implementing a living wage to Council workers who are employed via a contract,” Ms Kedgley said.

“Wages for out lowest paid workers have stagnated over the past twenty years, while the salaries for senior staff have rocketed, and these extreme differences in how people are paid has fueled the growing inequality in New Zealand,” Ms Kedgley said. “The Living Wage movement seeks to reverse this grossly unfair trend.”

Ms Kedgley said Councils had an obligation to be good employers, and to pay staff decent wages.

“The Living Wage should be seen as an investment, rather than a cost, as Living Wage employers have reduced staff turnover, higher morale and better productivity."

She noted that 1800 staff at the Auckland Council are paid more than $100.000 a year, while 1800 staff are not even paid a living wage. “I don't want to see our Council head in that direction."

Ms Kedgley said it was hard to understand why some people opposed meagre raises in the wages of staff at the bottom of the salary scale, when there was seldom any opposition to wage increases for staff in senior levels of the organisation."There always seems to be enough money to pay higher salaries for people at the top of an organization. So now it's time to ensure that staff at the bottom are paid enough to afford the basic necessities of life."

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Ms Kedgley’s resolution asks officers to develop a framework for implementing the Living Wage by March 2017 to council staff, staff employed by Council Controlled Organisations, and contractors. It asks officers to provide advice on any changes that would be needed to the Council’s contracting policy to ensure that its tender processes protect employment security and the pay and conditions for contractor employees and affirms that contracting should not be used to reduce the pay and conditions of contractor employees. The Living Wage is currently $19.80 an hour.

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