Momentum on living wage must continue

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The Public Service Association says a report from Treasury should not derail progress and momentum on the introduction of the living wage.

The report to the Minister of Finance says the living wage, calculated at $18.40 an hour, won’t help low income families and is likely to reduce employment.

The Wellington City Council has committed to the principle of the living wage and is looking at how it can be implemented, while the Auckland Council is also investigating.  The Labour leader David Cunliffe has also promised to pursue the living wage across government and government contracted services if elected.

PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott says it’s important that the work being done continues.

“The Treasury report overlooks the fact that providing a living wage is about valuing staff and being a fair employer.”

“It also ignores overseas evidence which shows there can also be financial benefits for organisations and communities.  Research from the US and the UK shows that organisations which have introduced the living wage have seen increased productivity through less staff turnover and increased loyalty and motivation.”

The PSA also believes the living wage could help address pay inequality for thousands of low paid women.

“We now have a landmark court decision which shows there is historical gender pay discrimination in occupations which are female-dominated.”

“If everyone was paid a living wage, it would go a long way towards addressing pay inequality and the gender pay gap,” Brenda Pilott says.

“If the government does not favour the living wage, it should come up with meaningful solutions to address the low wage treadmill that so many New Zealanders are running on.”