Living wage for cleaners would help 120 families

Posted By TEU on Jul 9, 2015 | 2 comments

Tertiary Update Vol 18 No 22

Paying the University of Canterbury’s cleaners the living wage would help 120 of Christchurch’s poorest families says TEU deputy secretary Nanette Cormack.

Most of the university’s 120 cleaners are at the top of their three-step pay scale and yet are paid only $15.69 per hour.

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

Cleaning supervisors earn about $2 an hour more than other cleaners, still much less than the living wage.

Cormack says that means that there are up to 120 families in Christchurch that lack enough money for basics such a paying for their children to go on a school trip, providing healthy food and paying basic household bills. 

Union members are negotiating with the university at present over a new employment agreement. One of their claims is for the university to pay its cleaners a living wage of $19.25 per hour.

Not only is that fair says Cormack, but it injects much-needed cash into the cash jars of many hard-working Christchurch families.

“Financially the university can afford to treat its employees with more dignity,” says Cormack. “Ethically, it can’t afford to leave its cleaners on poverty wages.”

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Staff want elected reps at Victoria University
  2. Employment outcomes for women worse than for men
  3. Design and Arts College work towards salary scale
  4. NCEA grade inflation has implications for tertiary education
  5. Auckland University warns against TPPA
  6. Iranian education leader arrested on way to union meeting

Other news

An international student doused himself in petrol and threatened to set himself alight at an MP’s electorate office in South Auckland – Stuff

Rory McCourt says increasing numbers of international students are relying on campus support services for financial and emotional support where they exist to get by, such as foodbanks and counselling services. “We’re concerned institutions, particularly smaller ones, are not putting in the pastoral care required to look after our guests and preserve our reputation as a friendly, safe destination for foreign students.” – NZUSA

Despite what you hear, inequality has risen in New Zealand – Dominion Post

The main drivers of US student debt—which has recently risen to the attention-getting sum of a trillion dollars—are the rapid growth of for-profit, mostly online education institutions, where ninety percent of students take on debt, completion rates are low, and default rates are high – The New Yorker

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