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More Covid-19 MIQ workers getting living wage, but half still struggling with inadequate pay, union says

More Covid-19 managed isolation and quarantine workers are getting paid the living wage after a campaign by Unite Union, but half are still waiting for adequate pay.

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John Crocker, national secretary for Unite Union, says staff getting fair pay feel rewarded for their sacrifices. Source: Breakfast

Many people, especially in South Auckland, work at the airport and in border jobs as New Zealand's frontline defence against the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, while more MIQ employers were coming to the party for their workers, in several facilities people doing this essential work are not getting paid much above minimum wage.

United Union national secretary John Crocker, speaking on Breakfast, highlighted two facilities though for their "good work". Auckland's Crowne Plaza have moved to paying the living wage. Rydges group have moved close to the living wage but on a permanent basis, meaning workers after MIQ is over will get the pay increase.

"It could be $3, a week, so for a full-timer that could be $100 easily," Crocker told Breakfast, adding it can be "really tough" for workers on the minimum wage to meet living costs, especially in big cities.

"It's a big deal to these workers. Part of it's the money, part of it's the dignity of feeling rewarded by the community for the sacrifices they're making.

Security at a managed isolation facility. Source: 1 NEWS

"There's two sides to it - they've got the money, they're not struggling as much, but they also feel that respect."

However, Crocker said half of the MIQ employers were still not meeting fair pay for their workers.

The number has improved from a third, but Crocker is still urging the remaining employers to come on board.

"We want the public to get behind this, we want the Government to step up - they're holding the purse strings - we want them to make this a reality for everybody.

"We'd be happy to come back [on Breakfast] and we're happy to call out the good employers if they want some positive publicity, just do the right thing and we'll be here singing your praises. We try to stay fair."