The Dom Post reports:
Wellington City Council is facing a budget blowout on its living wage policy, just two months after becoming the first council to adopt it.
Councillors voted 9-5 in December to adopt the living wage for its staff at a rate of $18.40 an hour. But Living Wage Aotearoa, the group that sets the rate, has now raised it to $18.80.
Andy Foster, who voted against the living wage in December, said the increase would lift the wage bill for the 400 staff directly employed by the council by $332,000 a year.
Forcing ratepayers to fund this.
But he warned that figure could blow out to as much as $5 million if it was extended to people working for council-controlled organisations and on council contracts, and if relativity adjustments were made for other staff.
If Employee A is on $15 an hour and Employee B on $19 an hour, and Employee A moves to $18.80 an hour then of course Employee B will want to be paid say $22 an hour to maintain the relativity as Employee B’s job is more skilled.
The latest rise highlighted his philosophical concern that the council had effectively handed control of staff pay-setting to an outside organisation.
But Family Centre social policy researcher Charles Waldegrave, of Lower Hutt, who calculated the figures for Living Wage Aotearoa, defended the latest adjustment saying that, if anything, it was on the low side.
Andy Foster hits the key point here. Those Councillors who voted to pay the living wage have said that they will allow Rev Waldegrave and his mate to determine the wages policy for the entire Council. It is a shocking dereliction of duty.
And the actual living wage based on their own original methodology should be $22.89 an hour. They just decided that such a figure was politically hard to justify, so changed their methodology. So the City Council has not even signed up to a consistent methodology (otherwise they would be paying $22.89 an hour) – they have signed uo to paying whatever figure Rev Waldegrave declares to be the correct one.