Te Hautū Kahurangi | Tertiary Education Union is delighted to celebrate Kuratini Tuwhere | Open Polytechnic becoming the first employer in the Aotearoa public tertiary education sector to achieve official accreditation with the Living Wage Movement.

Living Wage accreditation is achieved when an employer can show they are paying no less than the Living Wage (currently $22.75 per hour) to directly employed and contracted workers delivering services on a regular and ongoing basis.

Open Polytechnic’s Chief Executive Dr Caroline Seelig says she is ‘incredibly proud. Equity is at the heart of what Open Polytechnic is all about as an open and distance learning organisation. It’s also a key element in our strategic goals, we want to make sure that our workforce is diverse, skilled, and engaged. That way we will have less turnover, and a more productive work environment.’

‘Open Polytechnic is committed to paying a Living Wage to support its workers and their families. All of our kaimahi contribute to the mahi involved in achieving our strong financial results each year, and this is one of the ways we ensure all parts of our workforce share in the value they create for our organisation.’

TEU Branch President at Open Polytechnic Mary-Liz Broadley says it is heartening to see her employer take this step: ‘I am hoping that Open Polytechnic has signalled the way forward for other tertiary providers to follow suit in this worthwhile action. I would like to acknowledge our CEO, Caroline Seelig and Ang Bingham (OP Executive Director – People and Capabilities) for taking this action in this manner and doing right thing for our present and future workforces.’

Organiser Drew Mayhem echoes this sentiment: ‘Open Polytechnic has thrown down the gauntlet to other tertiary institutions to up their game and take better care of their most vulnerable workers.’

‘We congratulate the leadership for having achieved accreditation as a living wage employer, not just of their directly employed staff but also all contractors. The challenge has now been issued to other polytechnics to work towards accreditation as it obviously can be done if the willingness is there.’

In addition to Open Polytechnic, Southern Institute of Technology and Otago Polytechnic have publicly declared they are working towards Living Wage accreditation.