1492922324128 - Christchurch City Council could consider living wage policy this year, mayor says

Christchurch City Council could consider living wage policy this year, mayor says

The Christchurch City Council is considering offering employees a living wage.

The city council was lobbied to introduce the concept in 2014, but some warned it could not afford to adopt the policy.

The voluntary wage rate, introduced in 2013, is calculated yearly based on average wage increases. From July 1, it will sit at $20.20.

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Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the council was “working on” a living wage policy.

“We first considered it in 2014, so we were approached by the Living Wage movement and asked to follow it up.

“We undertook a feasibility study in August last year [and] it was decided by the chief executive Employment Matters Committee that the incoming council consider moving towards the living wage, so it was handed over to the new council,” she said.

The council also requested Christchurch City Holdings Limited (CCHL) look into the matter.

“We also asked CCHL to provide a report on what the standing was in terms of the all of the council organisations,” Dalziel said.

“That report is coming through to council . . . and the staff are preparing options for a living wage policy, and that will be coming to the Strategic Capability Committee in May and a report going to full council in June.”

The dates were indicative at this stage, she said.

“That’s our expectations, because the Annual Plan goes through that same period I’m just going to be a little more flexible about whether we meet deadlines in that regard.”

Dalziel said she personally did not believe in the phrase “living wage”.

“What they’re talking about is a minimum wage and it’s a higher level of minimum wage. Because if they were talking about a living wage they’d be talking about a 40-hour week.

“These people don’t work 40 hours a week and so they’re talking about an hourly rate and if they’re talking about an hourly rate they’re not talking about a living wage, they’re talking about a minimum wage.”

The minimum hourly rate for those aged over 16 is $15.75, while those starting out or in training receive a minimum of $12.60 an hour.

“I’ve got no difficulty with paying a fair and reasonable minimum wage, if people want to call it a living wage well that’s up to them,” Dalziel said.