On 3 September, The Mayor of Wellington’s, Justin Lester, announced that Wellington is New Zealand’s first fully accredited Living Wage council. The announcement was made at a joint Wellington City Council and Living Wage Wellington event. Local Anglicans were amongst the nearly 100 people who attended.
Our diocese is a member of the Living Wage movement, and along with other faith groups, community groups and unions, calls for all workers to have a wage sufficient to lead decent lives and participate in society. Anglicans have been active throughout the six year campaign, hosting forums, marching in “mop marches” and joining delegations to Council. Bishop Justin has spoken at many campaign events. A highlight of the campaign has been Carols For Our Cleaners, organised by Wellington faith groups.
Being a fully accredited Living Wage Employer means paying the current New Zealand Living Wage rate to all workers, including those employed via contractors. The current rate is $20.55 per hour. The Wellington City Council campaign has transformed the lives of many hundreds of low paid workers at the organisation. Council cleaner, Ahmed Dini, is a Somali man from a refugee background, with three small children. He told those attending the announcement how his life has changed since moving from the minimum wage to the Living Wage. He is pictured in the photo with two other council workers who have moved to Living Wage as a direct outcome of the campaign.
“After few months I quit my second part time job and kept 40 hours a week. Now, I can spend more time with my kids, I can take them to parks and play grounds and go to their activities and celebrations in school as well. I am so happy with that. I am not killing myself, I can relax and spend time with friends, family and I can also read books. Living Wage has changed my life and lives of other workers who work with me.”
There are still campaigns going on to win the Living Wage in Hutt City and Porirua City Councils and local Living Wage networks would welcome any local parishes who’d like to get involved. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.