The Movement launches the Living Wage Schools campaign

The Living Wage Movement has launched the Living Wage Schools campaign.

The campaign’s focus is delivering the living wage for school cleaners, caretakers, canteen staff, and groundskeepers (CCCGs), through new targeted funding from central government.

It’s a change that would increase the wage of an individual worker by an average of $180 per fortnight. For a family consisting of two adults and two children on one and a half incomes, their total income would increase by $270 per fortnight.

Developed by Living Wage Movement members, the campaign was officially launched in Wellington on 29 August 2023.

Read more about the Living Wage Schools campaign here.

Living Wage Movement supporters filled Te Aro Community Hall, where they heard from Andre Uncles, a school cleaner, and Robert Stewart, a caretaker of twenty years.

Before the launch, Andre reflected on what a living wage would mean to cleaners.

Andre said: ‘A living wage for cleaners in schools would mean they can put more food on the table, cover their bills, and pay their rent. It would give us self-worth and the feeling that we are being valued for the contribution we make to the school.’

Read Andre’s story in full here.

Robert shared his own personal story of coaching students to become champion table tennis players. This was a poignant example of how CCCGs’ contributions to school life often go beyond their job description.

Robert said: ‘It’s more than just a 9 – 5, five day a week job, it is being part of a school community, where in my way I can help the next generation.’

Read Robert’s story in full here.

Andre and Robert were supported by their colleagues in education sector, who endorsed the campaign on behalf of their unions.

PPTA member, and secondary school teacher, Nat Jump, spoke of the value CCCGs brought to the school community. An NZEI Te Riu Roa member and teacher aide talked about her colleagues’ journey to decent pay, and that she wanted to see CCCGs get the same opportunity.

Read Nat’s statement in support of a living wage for CCCGs here.

The Living Wage Movement recognises that schools face financial pressures, as Boards of Trustees work hard to allocate limited funding to provide great teaching and learning environments.

Read more about school funding and the impact on CCCG employment and wages here.

To alleviate this pressure, the Movement is calling on central government to provide new targeted living wage funding for state and integrated schools.

Living Wage Movement supporters around Aotearoa will be asking their local schools to pledge their support a living wage for CCCG staff, and join the call to central government to provide additional funding for this much needed pay boost.

Find out how to participate in the Living Wage Schools campaign here.