Goff: Council staff should have a living wage
Mayoral candidate Phil Goff today announced his commitment to introducing a living wage for Auckland Council staff.
He said the initiative should be funded out of savings from cutting waste and duplication from Council, not by increasing rates.
“I support a living wage for Auckland Council staff. Too many people in Auckland are working hard but living in poverty because their wages don’t cover the cost of living,” said Phil Goff.
“Council can’t change that reality for many Aucklanders but it can take responsibility for those it employs directly.
“We are aiming to save tens of millions of dollars through finding efficiencies in Council operations. One of the beneficiaries of those savings should be Council staff who are currently paid less than a living wage (currently $19.80).
“This ought to be a priority ahead of salary increases for senior staff earning higher incomes.
“Other Councils and a number of progressive private sector employers are already committed to paying their staff a living wage. Auckland Council too should lead by example. Its obligations as a good employer should include paying people a wage that at least meets the basic cost of living.
“Auckland is the country’s most expensive city to live in. We have to recognise that in how we treat our staff.
“The advantage of treating employees decently includes real economic benefits for Council which offset a higher wage bill. These include reduced turnover, reduced absenteeism and sick leave, increased productivity and improvements in the quality of job applicants.
“The policy covers directly employed Council and CCO staff. Consideration will be given later to the implications of requiring Council contractors to pay their staff a living wage.
“Covering directly employed Council and CCO staff is estimated to cost just over $4 million a year in additional wages.
“Previous attempts to introduce a living wage for Council employees did not gain majority support from Councillors. As Mayor, I will have one vote. However, I expect that more Councillors will support this policy if it is contingent on being funded out of efficiency savings and it is restricted to staff directly employed by the Council,” said Phil Goff.