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Community, churches and unions unite around call to lift pay

Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand

Media Advisory

29 August 2012

Community, churches and unions unite around call to lift low pay

Community organisations, churches and unions will unite on Thursday to celebrate a new movement to address poverty and inequality in New Zealand by lifting low pay.

Hundreds of Wellingtonians are expected to attend the Wellington launch of Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand at 12 noon at Wesley Methodist Church in the central city.

Over 80 organisations have endorsed the call for a living wage in New Zealand, including Wesley Community Action, Caritas, Oxfam, Child Poverty Action Group, Downtown Community Ministry and the Council of Trade Unions and all major unions.

A living wage is defined as a wage which allows workers and their families to not only survive but to participate in society.

“We know the living wage well exceeds the minimum wage of $13.50. Many workers are living on or just above the minimum wage, working 60-70 hours a week to make ends meet,” said Service and Food Workers Union National Secretary John Ryall.

“The living wage must enable workers to live a decent life and to avoid the chronic stress of poverty.”

“For too many people, the dollars they are paid do not begin to cover the costs of surviving let alone thriving. Work should provide for the necessities of life: food, clothing, shelter, utilities, healthcare, childcare and transportation,” said Rev Dr Margaret Mayman, of St Andrew’s on the Terrace.

“Working for a society where people who work earn enough to live with dignity and the possibility of full participation, is an aspect of the common good which is valued by everyone involved in the Living Wage Campaign.”

There have been successful living wage campaigns in many countries, including UK, the US and Canada. London living wage employers include Greater London Council and London Olympics 2012.

A large number of political leaders will also attend to hear about the need to lift low pay to address poverty and inequality, including: David Shearer, Darien Fenton and Grant Robertson; Russel Norman, Holly Walker, Denise Roche, Kevin Hague and Jan Logie; and Brendon Horan. Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and a number of councillors are also confirmed.

· Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand Wellington launch

· Wesley Methodist Church, 75 Taranaki Street, Wellington

· 12 noon – 1.30 pm

· Short speeches, music and celebration

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