TODAY |

Labour promises Living Wages to more low-paid public service workers

The Labour Party has promised to roll out further Living Wage agreements to public sector workers if elected this year.

Source: 1 NEWS

In 2018, the government committed to giving the Living Wage of $22.10 to all core public service workers, including full-time, part-time and casual employees.

Today, Labour's economic development spokesperson Phil Twyford and workplace relations and safety spokesperson Andrew Little said their party, if elected, with take that Living Wage commitment even further, extending it to many other parts of the public sector.

"COVID-19 has shone a light on the many workers who do important work in our community but who are not well paid for it," Little said.

"We can do a lot better at lifting wages and easing financial stress for hard-working New Zealanders."

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The Prime Minister responded to criticism from contracted cleaning and security workers who are still below living wage. Source: 1 NEWS

Twyford said contracted workers - like cleaners, caterers or security guards - are the backbone of public service.

"These are the workers that clean the office late at night, start work early to cater for conferences and stand in the cold making sure our offices are safe for everyone.

"The work contracted employees do help us all to do our jobs."

The Living Wage reflects an evaluation of the minimum hourly rate that a person needs to cover basic expenses in New Zealand - such as food, transportation, housing and childcare - and it is calculated yearly by the New Zealand Family Centre Social Policy Unit.

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Rose Kavapalu works 65 hours a week at two jobs and still struggles to make ends meet. Source: 1 NEWS

Labour says the introduction of the Living Wage for workers on minimum wage -  $18.90 - could mean as much as $100 more in earnings per week.

The party says thousands of workers are likely to benefit from this policy, and it will cost about $18 million per year for core government contracted cleaners, caterers and security guards.

The agencies the change would apply to include:

Crown Law Office, Department of Conservation, Department of Corrections, Department of Internal Affairs, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Education Review Office, Government Communications Security Bureau, Inland Revenue, Department of Land Information, New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Ministry for Pacific Peoples, Ministry for Primary Industries, Ministry for Women, Ministry for the Environment, Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment, New Zealand Police, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Maori Development, Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Transport, New Zealand Customs Service, New Zealand Security Intelligence Service, Oranga Tamariki—Ministry for Children, Serious Fraud Office, Public Service Commission, Statistics New Zealand,Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau mā Iwa—Pike River Recovery Agency and The Treasury