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Cleaners and sanitation workers contracted by the Wellington City Council (WCC) will be getting a living wage from July 1.
In September, WCC Mayor Justin Lester pledged to roll out the living wage to contractors working for WCC. Initially, only staff working directly for the council were impacted, with contractors in cleaning and sanitation roles excluded.
In March, the cleaning contract for WCC was put out to tender with no mention of living wage conditions. However, an announcement on April 2 confirmed that all workers directly employed by Wellington City Council, plus contracted cleaning and sanitation workers, will receive the living wage which is currently set at $20.20 an hour.
Wellington Region Living Wage Coordinator Lyndy McIntyre said the Council was the first to make a commitment to the living wage.
Auckland, Christchurch, Hutt City, Porirua, and the Greater Wellington Regional councils are all currently considering becoming living wage employers. Lester told Salient: “I think there’s growing support for the idea that people working hard for their community should be paid a decent wage and I think the public understands why councils are looking at this.”
Vice-Chancellor Grant Guilford stated that while VUW isn’t specifically a living wage employer, “over 98% of permanent staff are paid at or above that rate.” This does not include those contracted to work at VUW by a third party.
Guilford told Salient that many factors need to be considered in the upcoming renewal of cleaning contracts, including the quality and cost-effectiveness of the work, and whether companies are “paying people fairly.” He pointed to a need for “balancing not putting too much cost pressure on students and taxpayer” with the need to pay employees a livable wage.