Victory for council’s contracted cleaners as living wage rollout begins

Source: 1News

From the first of April, the first group of contracted cleaners at Auckland Council will be paid the current living wage rate of $22.10 per hour.

An extra $48 a week will be added to Chevy-Lee' Morrison's pay packet, but the E tū union says it's not enough.

E tū delegate Josephine Wiredu, who has worked at the council as a cleaner for the past two years, says to now receive the living wage is a “dream come true”.

"We’ve been waiting since 2012 for this dream to happen, and now, finally, it’s here to stay. It’s going to change our lives for good.

“We do appreciate the Mayor Phil Goff’s concern about the living wage. We are most grateful.”

Now that she’ll be on the living wage, Wiredu plans to cut back her 55-hour, seven-day-a-week work schedule so that she can finally spend Saturdays and Sundays with her children – something that wasn’t possible before.

The old living wage rate was $21.15 per hour, and today Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand announced that from September the living wage rate will increase by three per cent, from the current rate of $22.10 per hour to $22.75 per hour for 2021/22.

This follows on from the council’s commitment made in July last year to lift the pay rate of all contracted cleaners to the living wage rate during this term of council.

E tū transformational campaigns organiser Fala Haulangi says the beginning of the council’s living wage rollout is fantastic news, made possible by the dedicated campaigning of E tū members.

“I’m just so proud of our E tū cleaners and everything they have done for the living wage movement since it first launched in 2012.

“They have been hard out campaigning all this time, including speaking in the media and sharing their personal stories, and have even faced backlash for doing so,” she says.

“They made sacrifices because they believed in the bigger picture – not just for themselves but for their whānau and communities.”

Haulangi says E tū continues to be committed to seeing the living wage reach all contracted workers, including groups such as security guards.

“We applaud Auckland Council for the actions they’ve taken to reduce inequality in our communities, and we hope they don’t stop there."