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

Other news

A local academic says a massive leak of documents shows New Zealand has adopted an “extreme” position in international trade discussions. WikiLeaks released 17 different documents relating to the Trade in Services Agreement (Tisa) overnight- New Zealand Herald

An Auckland student who became a homeowner after living rent-free at his parents’ house is not a fair representation of all students, says NZUSA, the national students’ association – New Zealand Herald

A power-struggle to control Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is underway with its founder, Rongo Wetere, saying it is time his rival organisation led the education provider again – TVNZ Marae

The Government expects that students should contribute to the costs of their study, given the high private benefits of tertiary education for students. The share of the full cost of tertiary education paid by the Government is around 80 percent. This includes both tuition subsidies and the costs of providing interest-free student loans for tuition fees – Steven Joyce

Despite more than three quarters of Australians opposing deregulation, and the Senate twice rejecting their plans for $100,000 degrees, the Abbott Government kept its plans for university deregulation in the 2015 Federal Budget – NTEU

Print Friendly, PDF & Email