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April 1, 2019 | by  | in News |
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Living Wage Club Launched at Victoria

A ‘Living Wage at Vic’ Club was launched last Tuesday to support the campaign for a Living Wage for all workers at the university.

 

The Living Wage is calculated by Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand to better account for basic living expenses such as food, housing, transport, and childcare. In 2018, this was $20.55 per hour. The 2019 figure is expected to be released this week.

 

VUWSA and the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) have been campaigning for a Living Wage at VUW for five years, seeing most low-wage university employees rise above the Living Wage.

 

However, some employees, including contracted workers like cleaning staff, and undergraduate tutors, still make less.

 

Former VUWSA President Marlon Drake, who has been heavily involved in the campaign, views the formation of the club as a step forward.

 

“This club will mean we can have a consistent ongoing campaign at Vic with access to university funding,” Drake said.

 

According to Lyndy McIntyre,Wellington Community Organiser for the Living Wage movement, students are one of the strongest supporters of the Living Wage as “most experience low wages themselves.”

 

“It is a really important issue in their own lives and they find it easy to show solidarity”.

 

A campaign last year saw Wellington City Council become the first living wage council in New Zealand for all staff.

 

Both McIntyre and the TEU believe the university’s claims that they can’t afford to implement a universal Living Wage to be untrue.

 

“Employers sometimes make this sound hard, it’s not,” said McIntyre.

 

VUW told ^Salient that they have not only ensured that all permanently employed staff are paid “at least equivalent to the current Living Wage rate”, but that they are also assessing how to raise wages for contracted services suppliers.

 

The club aims to launch a campaign leading to a ‘Living Wage Day’ in mid-May.

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