TEU is calling on tertiary education employers to back the Living Wage campaign, saying that too many employees working at tertiary institutions are on wages and salaries that make it hard to care for a family.
TEU’s national president Lesley Francey says many tertiary education employees, are on salaries and wages below $18.40 an hour.
Lesley Francey says there are book-shelvers in permanent jobs at Victoria University working for the minimum wage – $13.50 per hour.
“Universities around New Zealand have many employees in low-paid or precarious jobs where they are not getting enough money to look after a family with healthy accommodation, healthy food and opportunities to participate in their communities.”
“Universities are meant to be transformative, not just for students but staff. People at universities should be making a better life for themselves and their communities. We would like to see universities and other tertiary employers among the very first employers to sign up to the Living Wage campaign.”
The Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand Campaign brings together a range of 126 organisations including TEU.
The campaign will name a living wage rate today of $18.40 an hour, calculated by researchers at the Anglican Church’s Family Centre in Lower Hutt, as “the income necessary to provide workers and their families with the basic necessities of life”.
Find out more about the campaign here:
Read a Report of an Investigation Into Defining A Living Wage For New Zealand (pdf)
Prepared by Peter King and Charles Waldegrave, Family Centre Social Policy Research Unit
Commissioned For the Living Wage Campaign
The New Zealand Herald reports that about 40 percent of the country’s 1.85 million employees, or around 740,000 people, earn below that rate – including beginning teachers, chefs, truck drivers, mechanics and carpenters, as well as traditionally low-paid groups such as cleaners, caregivers and checkout operators.
The campaign targets major employers, such as councils and universities, to pay at least the living wage to their own employees, and to make it a condition in their contracts with companies that offer services such as cleaning and security.
Charles Waldegrave, who led the Family Centre study, told the Herald the $18.40 figure was based on “not including any luxuries at all”.
“The whole idea is you could participate in society and have enough to pay your rent and food and power.”