Hot on the heels of The Warehouse becoming the biggest business to sign up to the Living Wage, Wellington City Council could soon become the first council in New Zealand to pay a Living Wage.
Update – Hamilton City Council has become the first city council to adopt a Living Wage for its staff.
At a recent Strategy and Policy Committee meeting Councillors voted unanimously for a report:
“To inform the annual plan deliberations on a proposed Council commitment to support a Living Wage. The report should advise on the following key points:
- Whether Wellington city council should support the principle of a Living Wage for Wellington
- The costs and benefits of Council moving to a living Wage for all directly employed and contracted staff, and possible options for a staged implementation plan
- The most appropriate roles for Council to play to support an encourage Wellington businesses citywide to become Living Wage employers.”
So they voted for a report. The real test will be when it comes back. Lets not forget the recent fiasco where they flushed $40k of ratepayers money down the drain when they commissioned a report into the flyover, but then proceeded to ignore.
Endorsing and providing leadership on this issue will help encourage other businesses to come on board and give a huge boost to the Living Wage campaign. The Warehouse believes their move will see greater team engagement; lower staff turnover; and higher productivity. All things Wellington City Council (or any business) would greatly benefit from.
The only downside/risk was the Mayor’s patchy political management skills rearing their head again when she suggested that rates might have to rise to afford wage increases, whereas Paul Eagle said it could be afforded by cutting the salaries of senior managers and Councillors. I know which option would endear the Living Wage campaign most to ratepayers.
Not everyone is happy with the idea of a Living Wage – Libertarianz Northern Ward candidate Reagan Cutting slammed the move and is exactly the opposition any attempt to adopt and implement a Living Wage is going to face.
It will be fascinating to see how far the Council’s fondness of a living wage will extend once they’re not in a meeting room packed with red-shirted unionists.