Canterbury cleaners join up for living wage

Posted By TEU on Jun 4, 2015 |


Tertiary Update Vol 18 No 17

Cleaners at the University of Canterbury are joining TEU as the union prepares to negotiate for a living wage.

TEU deputy secretary Nanette Cormack says the University of Canterbury used to be one of the best employers for cleaners in Christchurch but its pay rates are now far too low, and union members plan to fix that.

“Five cleaners joined the union last week. Everyone at the university recognises the crucial job they do and we want them to get a living wage.”

Currently, cleaners at the university earn between $15.46 and $15.69 per hour. Each step of their three step pay scale delivers a pay rise of just 11 cents an hour.

Those pay rates are nearly $4 per hour, or $8000 per year less than the living wage rate of $19.25 per hour.

The living wage, an amount independently calculated by the Family Centre Social Policy Research Unit, is the income workers need to afford the basic necessities of life for their families. A living wage enables workers to live with dignity and to participate as active citizens in society.

The living wage enables working parents to afford for their children to go on a school trip, provide healthy food and pay basic household bills. For many it is the difference between barely surviving and having a life.

Cormack says even cleaning supervisors at Canterbury University earn about $2 per hour less than the living wage, despite their extra responsibilities.

“A strong and growing union membership gives us more power to end the cycle of low wages.”

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Social bonds risky for health and education
  2. Otago council needs one third staff and students
  3. Kindness gets TEU member from Auckland to Armenia
  4. No new money in shifty shuffle budget
  5. TEU signs up for medical student petition

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