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Living Wage = Higher Rates!

Living Wage = Higher Rates!

“It would be highly irresponsible for Wellington City Council to bow to pressure from Living Wage Aotearoa by giving pay rises of up to 33% to all Council employees,” says Northern Ward Affordable Wellington candidate Reagan Cutting. “The money to fund such largess won’t materialise out of thin air; it will come again from the backs of long suffering rate payers.

Living Wage Aotearoa has calculated that a minimum ‘living wage’ is $18.40 per hour. Some council employees are currently earning $13.85 per hour. Mr Cutting says, “Wage levels are reached by agreement between employer and employee. This agreement is influenced by several factors but the major one is the value created by the employee’s role. It is not sensible or practical to pay people based on need if that payment exceeds the value added.”

“It is up to private businesses to determine just how much they can afford to pay their staff based on how well their business is performing. Ultimately they have to work to earn the incomes they use to pay their staff. Council is different. Council uses fees, rates, levies and duties to fund its activities from unconsenting property owners and businesses. It would be wrong for Council to treat ratepayers as cash cows and vote to greatly increase its wage bill arbitrarily.”

The Living Wage campaign group has also called on Wellington City Council to publically endorse the Living Wage Campaign and support local businesses in becoming Living Wage employers.

“While I do not think the Wellington City Council should become a union advocacy group, I can see a few fantastic ways the Council can help local businesses increase wages to their staff,” says Reagan Cutting. “They can start by cutting rates, reducing compliance costs, streamlining regulations and eliminating the hoops companies have to jump through whenever they deal with the Council. This impacts on business profitability and reduce the amount of funds available to spend on wages..”

ENDS

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