Dunedin City Council workers receive living wage

Dunedin City Council becomes second living wage accredited council.

Dunedin City Council (DCC) has become the second council in the country to be an accredited Living Wage Employer.

The southern city joins more than 150 accredited New Zealand Living Wage Employers.

Living Wage Movement Aotearoa New Zealand accreditation coordinator Felicia Scherrer, said more than 1000 DDC workers will have their lives improved through the Living Wage, as well as all indirectly employed workers delivering a service to the council.

“The impact of Dunedin City Council’s decision to become Aotearoa’s second accredited Living Wage Council is significant,” Scherrer said.

“As an accredited Living Wage Employer, the council is role modelling what best business practice looks like.”

Also joining the list of Living Wage accredited employers this year are AMP Capital Investors (NZ) Limited, AdviceFirst Limited and Western Springs College, which is the country’s first accredited Living Wage secondary school.

“The number of Living Wage Employers continues to grow as more businesses adopt the Living Wage as the benchmark for paying an ethical and fair wage,” Scherrer said.

“The commitment to paying the Living Wage has, for some time, been led by small to medium sized businesses, who felt strongly that this was the right thing to do.

“Through their leadership and the success of these businesses, we now have larger organisations and corporations, also committing to paying the Living Wage.  They too have realised investing in their workers is an investment in their business.”

The Living Wage Movement defines a living wage as the income necessary to provide workers and their families with the basic necessities of life.

As of 1 September, 2019, the living wage is $21.15 per hour, $3.45 more than the minimum wage set by the government.

DCC CEO Sue Bidrose said applying the living wage to contracted staff, and wholly-owned council companies, will be rolled out over the next one to three years.

No current contracts are affected, which means there are no short term costs. Instead, when existing contracts expire and are replaced, paying the living wage will be built in as a requirement.

These will be contracts for services such as road maintenance and traffic management, office cleaning, parks maintenance and security services.

Wreda (Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency), announced this week direct employers, including cleaners, will earn a Living Wage.

More than half Wreda’s 250-plus workforce are set to benefit, including hosts/ushers and operations staff.

Permanent staff moved to the 2018 Living Wage rate on 1 July and their pay increased to the 2019 rate of $21.15 on 1 September, when casual workers will also receive the Living Wage.

The increases follow on-going campaigning with Living Wage Wellington that resulted in Wellington City Council becoming the first local body to be an accredited Living Wage Employer.

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