Wellington City Council has voted for an annual plan which sets the council on a course to become New Zealand’s first fully accredited Living Wage council. Local faith groups were amongst those who celebrated with council workers, the community and the Mayor and councillors at the Wellington City Council foyer on 29 June.
The council has adopted the current New Zealand Living Wage rate for all directly employed workers and for council controlled organisations. Also included are around 60 cleaners and security guards employed via contractors and a commitment to deliver the Living Wage for all council workers working for contractors who deliver services on behalf of council in a regular and ongoing way. Wellington City Council has also committed to seeking accreditation as Living Wage employer in this council term.
Council parking warden, John Tuiavi’i, who has seen his pay lift from the minimum wage three years ago to the Living Wage rate of $20.230 an hour, said he was delighted.
“My family is the reason I work,” said John. “I can pay the bills, but there’s nothing left over. We stay home a lot because we can’t afford to do anything else. Now, with the extra money, I’ll be able to afford little luxuries like family trips and the occasional treat so it’ll make a real difference,” he says.
The council started delivering on its Living Wage commitment in 2014 and this has brought big pay rises for low paid workers and transformed the lives of many workers and their families.
The campaign has been led by Living Wage Wellington, an alliance of faith groups, community organisations and unions. Our Diocese, as a member organisation of the Living Wage Movement, is part of this alliance.
Building power in the community by uniting around a common concern to address poverty and inequality has really worked. For four years, the people power of Living Wage Wellington has put pressure on Wellington City Council leaders to commit the Living Wage. All along the journey, local Anglicans have been part of delegations, submissions and events.
Story: Lyndy Macintyre, Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand
Photo: Wellington City Libraries employee Frith Te Aroha (far right), from St Michael’s Anglican Church, was at the Living Wage celebration along with John Tuiavi’i and Mayor Justin Lester.