Wellington City Council’s reputation further damaged in contract row

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Wellington City Council’s reputation as an employer is under threat after an abrupt change to its roading maintenance contract has put 20 workers out of a job.

The Council’s current contract with Ventia has been awarded to Downers and the PSA understands all current Ventia contractors will lose their jobs.

"Downers will be the fourth company to have held this contract since it was outsourced in the 1990s," PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay says.

"Each time it’s been transferred, staff have been kept on but their pay and conditions have been cut.

"Ventia’s workers were on minimum wage or just above it, and supervisors were making less than the Living Wage.

"The PSA’s deeply disappointed at Wellington Council, which has opted for the lowest tender with total disregard to the impact on these workers."

The decision comes less than a month after the Council dialled back its stated commitment to the Living Wage, and announced future contractors would not have to pay it.

"Issues around privatisation will be a major point of debate in this year’s local elections," Mr Barclay says.

"Companies win contracts by offering the lowest tender rate, and all too often they do this by cutting workers’ wages.

"This locks employees into low-wage jobs - and affects the quality of service they can provide.

"The contracting-out model fails workers and communities.

"We’ll ask candidates for the Wellington mayoralty to reject further attempts to privatise services - and embrace plans to deliver good, secure jobs for the city."