Living Wage Bluff has launched, with over 60 attending the celebration of a new network in New Zealand’s southern most town on November 18. Bluff Sanford’s workers, St Anne’s Catholic Basilica, Awarua Social and Health Services, E tū union, the Maritime Union, and the PSA were some of the organisations coming together to listen to the stories of struggle for local workers, and organise for a Living Wage. Our campaign has begun and the next step is a letter to Sanford’s Chief Executive, Volker Kuntzsc, asking his profitable fishing company to back lifting these workers out of poverty. Tabitha Jessiman, a worker from Sanford’s, said:
"I can’t participate in the community because I don’t have the funds, I can’t repair my house because I don’t have the funds, my daughter can’t play softball because I don’t have the funds. It would be less stressful not having to live pay check to pay check and every week having to decide which bills I will pay and which I won’t.
When I was doing mussels I got enough money to buy a house but when I stopped that I lost $200 a week. Last year I fell behind in the rates and one year I had to pay two years’ rates in one year to catch me up. I can’t go and get new clothes because I don’t get enough money. I have to dip into my KiwiSaver twice to fix my house. You are robbing Peter to pay Paul all the time. You can’t get ahead. I am a one income household. It has been a real struggle.
You are trying to be a grown up, be an adult and you can’t do it. You are ashamed because you have to ask your mum and dad for money and yet you are working a 40 hour a week job but you can’t stand on your own feet.
The Living Wage would make it less stressful and less worrying. You can get a bit of sanity back. Bluff employers should want their workers to work to live, not live to work. Bluff employers should become Living Wage Employers."