Significant step on living wage for Auckland Council staff

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The Public Service Association is welcoming the Auckland mayor’s move to put the living wage firmly on the agenda as part of the new council’s first budget.

Len Brown is tabling the council budget today and is proposing to phase in the living wage for all Auckland Council staff from next year.

The PSA is the largest union in local government and says there are more than 1600 Auckland council workers who earn below the living wage which is calculated at $18.40 an hour.

“Providing a living wage is about valuing staff and being a fair employer and is also a very meaningful way to lift wages and improve people’s standard of living,” says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.

“To have the mayor of the country’s largest council actively supporting it is very significant.  If Auckland council can do it, so can other councils and organisations.”

The PSA says the living wage will make a big difference to large group of its members within the Council such as library and leisure staff who do very valuable work yet earn minimum wages.

However as part of the Living Wage coalition it is disappointed the Mayor is not prepared to extend his living wage proposal to staff working in council-contracted organisations.

Brenda Pilott says “if the Auckland Council genuinely wants to lift the wages of the low paid it needs to foster a living wage culture throughout all its operations and services.”

The PSA wants to ensure that any living wage proposal is considered within the council’s wider remuneration policies.

It has written to the Mayor about his plans to adopt a council-wide remuneration policy and expects to be involved in any discussions around that.