The Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) has voted to pursue Living Wage Employer accreditation.
The near-unanimous position places GWRC as the second regional council and seventh local authority in Aotearoa to pursue accreditation.
GWRC is currently paying the Living Wage to directly employed staff and transportation operators. To gain Living Wage Employer accreditation, the Regional Council will need to ensure regular contractors also receive the Living Wage.
Regional councillors commented on the seven-year effort by community, union, and faith groups to guide GWRC to this milestone.
Yesterday, Rev. Stephen King, Chair of the Living Wage Movement, made a submission before Councillors voted whether to pursue accreditation. He was accompanied by a delegation of members from across the Living Wage Movement.
Rev. King said: “It is clear from the paper presented to council that Regional Council’s current soft Living Wage procurement policy is not effective.
“It has allowed contracted workers over the years to fall through the cracks, leaving many still on the minimum wage.
“As a movement, we see the consequences this has on our community. The stark reality is that this decision holds profound implications for real people and their children who depend on them.”
He continued by saying that voting to pursue Living Wage Employer accreditation would show GWRC's commitment to combat poverty, and show leadership in the Wellington region.
Gina Lockyer, Executive Director of the Living Wage Movement, says: “We commend the GWRC councillors for working together, and coming to a decision that will have a transformational impact on workers.
“GWRC were making positive steps by paying the Living Wage to their directly employed workers, but now they’ll work to ensure that contracted workers, like cleaners, are included.
“These workers are often the lowest paid, so a pay bump will make a huge difference to them and their families,” Lockyer says.
We look forward to collaborating with GWRC in their ongoing effort to transition their regular contracted workers to the Living Wage.”