A new employer council has been launched by the Living Wage Movement to champion the Living Wage across all sectors of society, as part of Living Wage Week 2020.
The Living Wage Principle Partners Council is comprised of a group of employers from diverse businesses that will bring an innovative and collaborative approach to increasing the reach of the Living Wage.
Living Wage Accreditation Coordinator Felicia Scherrer says the new Council has been formed in response to businesses that wanted to do more to grow the movement for decent wages in New Zealand.
Felicia says: “We are very excited that so many of our Living Wage Employers have embraced this, from not-for-profits like Auckland City Mission to social enterprise Downlights and our big corporate supporters, like Westpac, AMP, Vector and Kiwibank.”
Felicia says the purpose of the Principal Partners Council is to provide a platform for business to speak to business because they have done the hard to work to make it happen and they value the results.
Kiwibank is one of four corporate businesses to become a Principal Partner. CEO Steve Jurkovich says: “The Living Wage applies to everyone who works for us and with us. This includes people who are employed through contractors or other suppliers. It’s people like our cleaners, security guards and maintenance workers. People who’ve kept Kiwibank and New Zealand ticking during this trying year. Their hard mahi has enabled us to open clean, safe branches and offices and provide essential services to our communities during COVID.”
Another Principal Partner is Westpac, whose Chief Financial Officer Ian Hankins says: “Our employees gave us very positive feedback when we became a Living Wage Employer and we encourage other businesses to get involved in this important movement.”
Felicia Scherrer says it is not just the corporates that have stepped up but small to medium sized enterprises that have had a tough time in the year of COVID, such as hospitality businesses Wiri Licensing Trust in Auckland and Rogue and Vagabond bar in Wellington.
Gwilym Waldren of Rogue and Vagabond says: “The goal needs to be that it is exploitative to work for an employer who doesn’t pay Living Wage. I love the Living Wage, but it can’t remain a niche thing. An island of well-paid employees is a hinderance to an industry and individual businesses.”
Living Wage Week is a time when communities and businesses step up to celebrate the difference a Living Wage makes and also to call on government, the private sector and all New Zealanders to do the same, according to Felicia. “This is a new milestone for the Movement and we are very proud of how far we have come in changing the conversation about decent working lives in New Zealand,” Felicia says.