Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A living wage for Hamilton

The Hamilton City Council has voted to adopt a living wage for all its staff:

Hamilton City Council has become the first in the country to vote in favour of paying its staff what campaigners have called the living wage.

Councillors on Tuesday voted eight to five in favour of paying $18.40 an hour to staff currently earning less.

As a result, 80 workers will get a pay rise in the next two years at an estimated eventual cost of $168,000 a year.

Good. Councils, like other employers, should pay their staff enough to live a dignified life. Unfortunately there's a big gap around contractors, who aren't employed by the council and so don't benefit from this - so the next step is to adopt that as a requirement for all contracted services. Which will incidentally remove the "race to the bottom", hire-the-same-staff-and-pay-them-less model which currently drives contracting out, so it will kill two birds with one stone.