Public servants get the Living Wage they deserve

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Some of New Zealand’s lowest-paid government workers will now find it easier to pay bills, save for their retirement and feed their families, as the Government implements a Living Wage for the core public service.

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Amanda Sykes and Samantha Tottenham meet PM Jacinda Ardern

From today, more than 1000 PSA members will get a pay boost to $20.55 ($42,744 per annum). 

"We are delighted for these workers, who deserve to earn a decent living for the important work they do," PSA National Secretary Erin Polaczuk says. 

"The PSA asked Labour to commit to this policy during the 2017 election campaign, and it’s great to see they have delivered on their promises." 

Two PSA members appeared at Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s post-cabinet press conference today, and spoke about the difference this would make to their lives. 

Samantha Tottenham, a deputy registrar with the Ministry of Justice said that for her the move to a Living Wage was about more than money. 

"This tells me that what I do is being recognised and that the responsibilities of my job aren’t being undervalued. 

"I’m also glad that people who start in jobs like mine in the future won’t have the same struggle I’ve experienced for the last three years to earn a reasonable living". 

Amanda Sykes, a library assistant at the National Library, said that being paid at a higher level would free up some money after deductions for student loan and Kiwisaver payments. 

"It means I’m not being left behind". 

At the post-cabinet press conference the Prime Minister reiterated the number of steps taken by the Government to bring lower paid workers up to reasonable pay levels, including settlements for mental health and addiction workers and equal pay. 

She also cited the recent step to put an end to performance pay for public service chief executives as a demonstration that the Government was now tackling longstanding inequalities that would make a long-term difference. 

Ms Polaczuk: "It is encouraging that the Government is putting its own house right and that it has indicated future gains will come through bargaining between employers and unions - reinforcing the central role of collective bargaining.

"We have confidence this Government is serious about making a real difference in the lives of low-paid workers, and shares our view that the public service should set an example. 

"We look forward to other state sector employers following the public service’s lead, and paying a Living Wage to all directly employed and contracted staff."