Our ‘work ethic’ is not the problem

unnamedBy Andrew Tait

John Key came out this week and said it: New Zealanders are just too lazy or drug-addled to work, so we have to bring in migrants to “do a fabulous job” harvesting fruit and veges.

It’s a meme that has done the rounds on the media, slyly suggested by employers, farmers and politicians but never before as baldly stated by anyone as prominent as the Prime Minister. The truth is employers in agriculture are so addicted to profit they refuse to pay their workers a living wage. [Read more…]

Wellington Living Wage Advance

1445905498066After a long debate, a meeting of the Wellington City Council on 28th October voted 9 to 6 in favour of security contract staff being paid a Living Wage. The Council already pays its directly-employed staff a Living Wage. Earlier this year the Council had resolved under the Long Term Plan that they would extend it to workers in Council-Controlled Organisations and, on a case by case basis, to contract workers. Recently the Living Wage was duly implemented at CCOs. The security and noise control contract has come up for tender and has been a test case for Mayor Celia Wade-Brown’s and the councillors’ resolve to carry the Living Wage policy through. Paying the security staff a Living Wage will add to the contract price.

The centre-left on the Council must be applauded for the stand they have taken. They took the decision in the teeth of opposition from the Council’s senior management and business interests. The management report to the Council meeting was outrageously one-sided. Its central arguments were that topping up the security workers’ pay would be illegal and too expensive. Unusually, the report quoted lengthily from legal advice the managers had procured. The report was practically an invitation to take the council to court. [Read more…]

Living Wage win at Wellington City Council

Living Wage AAABy Andrew Raba

On Wednesday the 24th of June Wellington City Council voted nine to six in favour of paying its contract staff the living wage of 19.25 an hour. The ‘MOP’ march began outside the Wesley Church on Taranaki Street with a hot breakfast and speeches from the CTU president Helen Kelly and Bishop Justin Duckworth. Lots of people had brought mops to represent support for the cleaners who keep Wellington’s community spaces running and yet are paid almost as little as legally possible. At 8:45 am roughly 200 people marched from the church to Civic Square. The march was led by council employed cleaners and the Brass Razoo Solidarity Band. Among the crowd were a wide range of Wellingtonians, faith groups, unions, workers, and the ISO. [Read more…]