Entering its fourth year, the Living Wage for Vic campaign has been relaunched at the Victoria University of Wellington.
To date, Living Wage for Vic has brought huge numbers of people together to demand the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Grant Guilford pay all staff enough to be able to live on and provide for their families.
Most recently, a student-led stall set up for three days during Orientation Week collected the signatures of nearly 200 students who signed up to actively support the campaign and to join the Living Wage Club on campus.
One of the most important issues on people’s minds was to back the campaign’s demand that the Vice-Chancellor pay the Living Wage to both directly employed and contracted workers.
A huge part of the reason why the campaign receives so much support from students is because they understand better than most the huge contribution all staff make towards ensuring they get a quality learning experience.
The campaign also provides an opportunity for students to reflect on what the Living Wage means to them personally, and the impact long hours and low paid works has on their studies.
Sharing this is one of the reasons why Marlon Drake, Living Wage student activist and former president of the local students’ association, VUWSA, is leading the campaign’s relaunch.
The relaunch also comes off the back of a meeting between community and TEU representatives and Professor Guilford and the university’s Chancellor. Campaigners pressed the need for the institution’s leaders to make urgent progress towards pay a Living Wage to all university staff.
Co-president of the VUW branch of TEU Katy Miller, who attended the meeting, said she was feeling ‘pleased and optimistic’ at both the progress made and common ground reached between the council and Living Wage advocates.
Miller said: “while it may be some time before we can say we are a Living Wage university, there are positive signs of progress”.
VUW alumna and Living Wage organiser Lyndy McIntyre, who also attended the meeting, shares Miller’s optimism, noting: “it was a really constructive and positive meeting, and it was really great to have the Chancellor there. We feel like we are going to be able to make progress, both with directly employed and contracted workers”.
Moving forward, the next step for the campaign is to organise a Living Wage Day in partnership with TEU and E Tū members, and other stakeholders, so that at the very least every person that works at VUW can go home at the end of the day knowing their work is properly valued.