PSA wins Living Wage for core public service employees

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PSA members in the public service have secured a big victory - with all employees winning the right to be paid at least a Living Wage.

State Services Minister Chris Hipkins says there will be a one-off adjustment in pay from 1 September, with all employees receiving an hourly rate of $20.55 ($42,744 per annum).

"This is a big win for the Living Wage movement and for PSA members," PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay says.

"We asked Labour to commit to this during the 2017 election campaign, and we are pleased to see it enacted today.

"It is heartening to know that many of the public service’s lowest-paid employees will now earn enough to feed their families, pay their bills and save for their retirement."

More than 1000 PSA members in the core public service are paid below the Living Wage.

Two members, who preferred to remain anonymous, explain the difference it would make to their lives:

"If I was receiving the Living Wage, I would not be having to sell my home. The extra money would at least let me have coffee with friends and the occasional clothing purchase, and give me back some pride."

"I trained for several years at a post-graduate level in order to properly qualify. Currently, I see no chance of paying off my student loan anytime soon. On a day to day basis, I am constantly worried that I won’t be able to pay for dental visits or to go to the doctors."

The PSA notes this is a one-off adjustment and that future gains will be subject to bargaining between employers and unions.

"We welcome the central role that the Government is giving to collective bargaining and the PSA in ensuring the rates are maintained on an ongoing basis", Mr Barclay says.

"We will work hard to ensure this is embedded in collective employment agreements so all public service employees can earn a Living Wage.

"This is part of a tranche of changes introduced by the new Labour government that will deliver real change for union members.

"We will continue to press the Government for changes that will lead to a strong, vibrant and innovative public service."