Keeping the Living Wage wins coming

E tū delegate Josephine Wiredu with Mayor Phil Goff

Auckland Council cleaners have finally had a Living Wage victory, with the first group of contracted cleaners winning the 2020 Living Wage in April.

Winning the Living Wage at Auckland Council has been a key priority for the Living Wage Movement in Auckland since its inception. E tū, other unions, community organisations, and faith groups have kept the Living Wage on the Council’s agenda for years.

In 2016, Mayor Phil Goff made his Living Wage commitment during his election campaign. Directly employed workers have been paid at least the Living Wage since 2019.

Paying the Living Wage is already making a real difference for the lives of E tū members who clean Auckland Council buildings, such as Josephine Wiredu, who cleans the Mayor’s office.

“I don’t have to work long hours anymore and I have more time to spend with my family, especially my two young daughters,” Josephine says.

“This will also help me pay for my daughter’s piano lessons and save for a holiday together as a family. I have a lot of leave, but couldn’t take my family anywhere as I didn’t have enough money.

“Thank you very much to my fellow E tū union members!”

Security guards who work for Auckland Transport, a council-controlled organisation, are also on the way to a Living Wage victory.

Lavinia Kafoa, a security guard at an Auckland train station, says that the progress is promising.

“It will help me, as a single mother, to pay the rent, put food on the table, and pay the rest of the bills on time,” Lavinia says.

The Living Wage would mean I could support my kids with their sports and take time out of work to be there for them. It would mean that when I am really stressed out and not feeling well, I would have a choice to take time out to look after my wellbeing and mental health.”

The campaign continues – once all workers employed by contractors are paid at least the Living Wage, New Zealand’s biggest council can become an accredited Living Wage Employer, joining Wellington City Council and Dunedin City Council as leaders for decent pay in public services.

Win for guards as security is included in Part 6A

Working life for Aotearoa New Zealand’s security guards is about to get a whole lot more secure, now they’ll be legally entitled to keep their job with its terms and conditions if another security company takes over the contract they’re employed on.

On 1 April, the Government added security guards as a category of employees to be protected under Part 6A of the Employment Relations Act. For security guards, this means maintaining the terms and conditions of their original employment, such as pay and accrued leave, even when their contract with one security company ends and is taken over by another.

The new legislation will come into effect on 1 July.

Click here to read a comprehensive history of this campaign, written by E tū’s former Assistant National Secretary, John Ryall.