As the Living Wage delivers, be wary of fake news!

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Wellington Council parking warden numbers grow by 27 after the workers are brought in-house to receive a Living Wage.

Stories are circulating that the introduction of the Living Wage for parking officers in Wellington City led to seventeen job losses. The Union representing these workers, E tū, says the narrative doesn’t match up with the facts.

E tū’s Mat Danaher: “I don’t know where this story originated but I am concerned to see it being circulated, especially at a time when more and more people are aware of the dangers of sharing fake news.”

Mat says that the true story is that in 2014 30 parking officers in Wellington won the right to earn the Living Wage. Wellington City Council also decided to bring them back into direct employment rather than using a contractor. This was welcomed by their union at the time.

“However, WCC decided to make all the parking officers re-apply for their jobs. This was vigorously opposed by E tū and the Living Wage Movement and we fought for every job. Unfortunately, at the end of the process, one decided to find a job elsewhere, one left for unrelated reasons, and three failed at the interview stage.

“We hope WCC have learned their lesson and will not subject their workforce to an approach like this again,” said Mat.

“Some of the people circulating the fake version of the story are using to make the argument that the Living Wage means job cuts. This is disproven as we understand that WCC are now employing 57 parking officers, 27 more than before the Living Wage was implemented.”

Wellington City Council themselves said when the report was released:

“A report released today alleges that 17 Wellington City Council staff lost their jobs due to the implementation of the Living Wage. This is factually inaccurate. Wellington City Council chose to bring our Parking Warden roles in house over two years ago, As part of that process, a range of new standards were implemented for staff in that role including stronger customer service, being able to work with new technology and a range of health checks. As part of requiring these new higher standards, some people who were employed by the contractor were not subsequently employed by WCC. To say this happened because of the Living Wage policy, is inaccurate,” said Kevin Lavery, Wellington City Council CEO.

Living Wage National Convenor, Annie Newman says, New Zealand can't afford low wages and the focus of public attention should be on the amazing transformation of many workers who have finally got a decent wage.

“That's why the Living Wage Movement began.  We launched our campaign in 2012 with a statement supported by over 200 organisations: A Living Wage is the income necessary to provide workers and their families with the basic necessities of life. A Living Wage will enable workers to live with dignity and to participate as active citizens in society. Now there are 65 Members from faith, community and union groups that believe the Living Wage is one way to reduce poverty and inequality in Aotearoa NZ,” said Annie.

Pictured:  Wellington City Council parking officer Fuifui Anae is one of hundreds of Wellington City Council workers who have benefitted from pay rises as a direct result of the Living Wage campaign.

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