Wellington Regional Council agrees to Living Wage

Wellington Regional Council agrees to Living Wage

Staff and contractors paid by the Wellington Regional Council will now get the Living Wage, after a unanimous vote on Wednesday.

The motion, put forward by councillor Sue Kedgley, was passed at the final council meeting before the local body elections.

The room was reportedly packed out for the vote.

The Living Wage is a voluntary rate of pay calculated to mean workers can pay for the necessities of life, with enough money left to enjoy being an active part of the community.

The 2016 rate has been calculated at $19.80 an hour - $4.55 more than the current minimum wage.

"Wages for lowest paid workers have stagnated over the past twenty years, while the salaries for senior staff have rocketed, and these extreme differences in how people are paid has fuelled the growing inequality in New Zealand," Ms Kedgley says.

The proposal asked officers to come up with a framework for putting the Living Wage into place by March 2017 to council staff, contractors and staff employed by council-controlled organisations.

A number of businesses around the country already use it and the idea is also campaign policy of a number of mayoral candidates.

Wellington City Council has paid staff a living wage since 2013 and in October last year, voted to require security services contractors to do the same.

But that prompted a legal challenge from the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, which was later withdrawn after a deal was struck between the parties.