Almost half of New Zealand's managed isolation facilities paying living wage but more work needed - union

Half of New Zealand's managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facilities are now paying living wage, or close to it - but a leading union says it's not good enough. 

On Thursday Unite Union revealed Auckland's Crowne Plaza is the latest facility to pay its staff the living wage of $22.10.

John Crocker from the Union said it's "a big win" for Crowne Plaza employees - but there's a lot more that needs to be done.

"There are many more earning less and it's not just hotel workers who have fallen through the cracks."

He says the ministers who "hold the purse strings" need to loosen them.

"MIQ workers are essential to maintaining the safety of Aotearoa and helping us get

on with life as normal, yet they aren't even paid enough to live well by."

One cleaner at a MIQ facility told NZME she earns just 25 cents above the minimum wage of $18.90.

"I just want to cry," Tina Eitiare is quoted as saying.

"We work hard, we are going through so much more than before, and we deserve to get something extra.

"We are risking our lives, our health, to put food on the table and that is the reason we do it."

The Government announced in 2020 that all contracted cleaners, security and caterers would be paid the living wage. 

However this did not include hotel staff employed by or paid for directly by the hotels. 

"We've heard from our friends at the New Zealand Nurses Organisation that many health care workers in these facilities also earn below the living wage," said Crocker. 

"This may surprise the public, but it shows how important the issue is and emphasises the need for a government solution."

A petition campaigning for all MIQ workers to be paid living wage has been signed by almost 2000 people.