15 Dec 2016

Ratepayers to have say on 'living wage' for council staff

7:16 pm on 15 December 2016

An increased to the 'living wage' for thousands of Auckland Council staff has moved closer, with the plan to be formally put to ratepayers.

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A living wage for council staff would cost an extra $9m a year. Photo: RNZ

Councillors today voted to include the proposal in public consultation papers early next year, as part of next year's budget.

The living wage, which is higher than the legal minimum wage of $15.25, is currently set by campaigners at $19.25. They claim this amount is needed for a mother, father and two children to "live with dignity" in this country.

It has been estimated the introduction of the living wage would directly benefit 2200 staff, with another 1200 getting pay rises to keep them in step.

If the move went ahead to lift minimum wages to $20.40 over three years, it would eventually cost an estimated $9 million a year.

The council and its agencies are one of Auckland's biggest employers. Union organiser Jeff Rowe said eventual success would be a big step forward for the campaign.

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