The Living Wage is on fire!

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester celebrates becoming a Living Wage council

On 3 September, Wellington’s Mayor Justin Lester, cut the cake to celebrate Wellington City Council becoming New Zealand’s first fully accredited Living Wage council!

For six years, E tū has worked toward this milestone, alongside other unions, faith groups and community organisations, calling on councils and government to deliver decent wages for employees and contracted staff, like our security guards and cleaners.

E tū members have played a key role in the Council’s move to a Living Wage which has lifted the incomes of so many of our members by as much as 30%. Parking warden Malcolm Hirini, who attended the celebrations explained:

“For me, the Living Wage meant more time. More time with my family. I want to thank the Wellington City Council for giving us this opportunity to spend money in Wellington, live in Wellington, and be a part of Wellington.”

Mayor Justin Lester, who is also an E tū member, said he knows this will make a big difference in Council employees’ lives.

“It means our staff can support their families and enjoy some of the good things in life too, like occasionally going to the movies or going on a holiday.

Communities gather in Auckland to celebrate the 2018 Living Wage Employer list announcement

“I hope this will clear the path to make it easier for other councils to become Living Wage Employers as well.”

In Auckland, Mayor Phil Goff led celebrations to announce the 110 accredited Living Wage Employers for 2018. As Auckland Council takes the second of three steps toward a Living Wage, E tū member, Bernard Hoggins talked about the importance of earning a decent wage.

“My team mates and I are all very enthusiastic about the current progress towards the Living Wage at Auckland Council. The big difference it has made for me is that earlier this year I was able to take a trip to visit my sister and my two year old niece who I hadn’t met yet.”

On 1 September the Government fulfilled its promise to adopt a minimum of the Living Wage for all its directly-employed workers. Now your union is working to see this extended to our members contracted to deliver government services, including cleaners, catering staff and security guards.

The Living Wage is the clarion call for many of our members in bargaining as they seek – and win – fairer pay. As a member posted to our E tū Facebook page: “Woo hoo! starts with one, then it snowballs.”