Wellington City Council has just voted to support the Living Wage ‘in principle’, put $250,000 in the budget to research and implement it, and – crucially – has extended it to cover contractors not just in-house staff.
It’s a great moment: not 100% of the way, since they haven’t put aside all the money needed, and there are some more hurdles to clear, but a huge step.
The council voted unanimously to get officers to prepare a report, by November, on the Living Wage and what it would mean – and they could easily have stopped there.
But 10 out of the 15 also voted to support it in principle – even before officers report back – and to put the money aside for it.
The 10 who supported it were: Celia Wade-Brown, Ray Ahipene-Mercer, Stephanie Cook, Paul Eagle, Leonie Gill, Justin Lester, Bryan Pepperell, Helene Ritchie, Iona Pannett, and John Morrison.
Those who didn’t were Ngaire Best, Jo Coughlan, Andy Foster, Simon Marsh, and Ian McKinnon.
It’s worth noting that Morrison supported it, since he’s the principal challenger to Wade-Brown in this year’s mayoral elections, so it bodes well for the Living Wage surviving past October, whoever wins the election.
Of those who opposed it, Ngaire Best is understood not to be running again, although that’s not confirmed.
Paying contractors the Living Wage is a massive step, because it would have been so easy to stop at in-house staff. Shows the principle is getting through.
Also significant that a plan to limit the Living Wage to those with 4000 hours already at WCC was dropped. That would have given other councils a major ‘out’: they could have also taken half-hearted steps. Now the trail is clearly blazed, and one can only hope that others (esp Auckland) will follow suit.
Anyway the bottom line is a big win for equality and fairer pay all round.