The Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University should follow the lead of Wellington City Council and commit to paying all staff the Living Wage.
Wellington City Council took a significant step toward becoming New Zealand’s first Living Wage Council earlier this week when Councillors approved an annual plan that commits to paying a Living Wage to all directly employed workers and those in council controlled organisations.
The commitment includes around 60 council security guards and cleaners who are employed via contractors. Councillors said they would also prioritise paying other contractors the Living Wage before seeking formal accreditation as a Living Wage employer within three years.
Welcomed by campaigners around the city, the Council’s decision sets an example that the Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University, Professor Grant Guilford, should follow.
A growing campaign is calling on Guilford to pay all those directly employed by the university enough to reach an acceptable, if modest, standard of living, and to commit to extending this across the whole campus team in future.
“If the Council can do this, then so can Victoria University. Wellington could soon be home to New Zealand’s first Living Wage Council. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could also boast about being home to New Zealand’s first Living Wage university? That really would be something to be proud of,” Nicki Wilford, organiser of the TEU branch at Victoria University, said.
Wellington Councillors were congratulated for responding to the advice of campaigners, who said paying the Living Wage would be good for Council staff and their families, good for the Council as an employer and good for the city.
Guilford, on the other hand, continues to ignore staff, students, alumni and community leaders telling him that paying the Living Wage would have the same benefits for Victoria University.
Unmoved by stories about what a difference being paid enough to live on would make to the lives of some of Victoria’s lowest paid workers, Guilford is at odds with his own staff and students who back calls for the Living Wage.
“Wellington City Council has set a great example to other councils around the country. Victoria certainly has the means to set a great example for the tertiary education sector,” Wilford said.