Government announces living wage to be paid to all core public servants

Written By: - Date published: 2:13 pm, June 15th, 2018 - 42 comments
Categories: cost of living, Economy, employment, greens, labour, nz first, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

And just like that the Labour-Green-New Zealand First Government has announced that all employees in the core public service will be paid a minimum of the living wage.

From the Beehive website:

All employees in the core public service will receive an hourly rate of at least $20.55, the 2018 Living Wage, Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins announced today.

The new hourly rate – or annualised equivalent of $42,744 – includes full-time, part-time and casual employees and will be implemented by a one-off adjustment in pay with effect by 1 September 2018.

“This decision is about supporting fair pay and employment conditions for a decent standard of living for all New Zealanders,” Chris Hipkins said.

“This government strongly believes that every worker should be in a situation where the pay they receive means they can at least make ends meet.

“Most of the workers who will benefit work in 13 government departments, and work in jobs including clerical and administration workers, welfare workers, contact centre workers and assistant customs officers.

“The departments will meet the estimated $7.23 million cost of the one-off adjustment from within their baselines.

“In subsequent years, the rate will be subject to bargaining between government employers and unions such as the New Zealand Public Service Association.

“We know there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the problem of low pay. This decision for the lowest paid workers in the Public Service is one of a range of initiatives the Government is implementing to tackle the difference between the highest and lowest paid.”

And the relevant Cabinet Paper has been proactively released.

The total cost is a very modest $7.22 million and 2,048 employees will be affected.  I suspect there will be flow on adjustments as pay differentials are sorted out despite what is said in the Cabinet Paper.  And there will still remain the issue of Government contracts with providers of, for example, cleaning services which is why fair pay bargaining is such an important concept.

Not everyone is happy.  The misnamed Taxpayers Union thinks the announcement is morally questionable and the set figure arbitrary is politically determined.  The only response I can think of is diddums.

All in all this is a good start.

 

42 comments on “Government announces living wage to be paid to all core public servants”

  1. This is great news.

    There will a precedent set that in time will ‘encourage’ the private sector to follow suit . It is long overdue.

    As for the Tax payers Union and their ACT party friends. Perhaps its time you stopped living in the back pockets of the 0.1% party. Nobody cares what they have to say.

  2. adam 2

    I’m looking forward to all the lies and misinformation the rwnj’s will try and spread on this issue.

    Heaps of half baked attempts at an economic debate, and a mountain of delirious quibs to make themselves feel better.

    • gsays 2.1

      If any of the rwnj’s truly want to be enlightened, this Ted Talk is informative.
      Nick Hanauer on equality and paying a living wage.

  3. Ad 3

    Living Wage + WFF increase in July keeps domestic economy chugging esp in Wellington.

    Auckland fuel tax will overall counteract that to negative.

    • Hmmm,.. perhaps then we could ask Jacinda to reduce workers wages to $12.00 an hour then,…

      You have a point , but clearly these wages are years overdue in an increase. And here is another good thing about this;

      All those frantic RWNJ’s are about to have the myth about a LIVING WAGE shattered as we will ALL see that it DOES NOT create mass unemployment. Instead, – it will prove three things:

      1 ) Were their businesses even ‘competitive’ in the first place ?

      2 ) Were the workers in fact subsidizing those business by being paid so miserably ?

      3 ) Or were those businesses getting away with fat profits and taking advantage of Nat party labour laws all this time and not in good faith paying a realistic remuneration /reward for said labour costs?

      So it will only be a matter of time before we see the RWNJ argument put to bed in this country at last.

    • “Auckland fuel tax will overall counteract that to negative”.

      How would you know this unless you know what hrly rate a person was on before the increase to a living wage?
      Also people may now choose to carpool so their petrol costs might go down.

      • Or walk , or bicycle, or train , or bus…

        • Craig Glen Eden 3.2.1.1

          Yeah because the hourly rate increase was less than 11cents and hour and they work less hours than the liters of fuel they use a week. I get it now lol.

          • WILD KATIPO 3.2.1.1.1

            Put it this way , 2-3 years ago I was earning $13.50 an hour in security. Hazardous. Albeit with a private firm. Traveled from West Auckland to South Auckland , morning and evening in rush hour. Except in reverse to most people . Gas hungry.

            And even then , the wages covered fuel. And all other costs.

            Now ,… $20.00 per hour?… this gives some family’s breathing space.

            So an hourly increase of just 11 cents?

            Not sure what figures you are using.

            But it certainly will give private sectors a rather hard shove in the ribs . And that’s one of the good things about this.

            • Tuppence Shrewsbury 3.2.1.1.1.1

              So you’re politically woke but to stupid too realise the 13.50 was under the minimum wage 3 years ago. You’d have to go back to 2012 to be earning that as a minimum wage.

              Are you lying, stupid or both? Too many of your stories are just huge yarns backing up your cause Du jour

              • And too many fallacy’s of yours get a far too wide reading coverage.

                And yes, $13.50 sounds about right 3 years ago, but what you far right wing nutjobs always fail to mention – even if that is statistically correct or is out by a year or so , – is that not only have people been consistently paid lower than the minimum wage ( especially in the private sector ) under the last government – particularly by those recent immigrants that THEY themselves encouraged to come here , – but that consistently , the amount paid is not even SUBSISTENCE wages.

                And are YOU stupid or lying or both?

                Why is it then that the Coalition has deemed it necessary to introduce quite significant increases?

                And moreover ,… WHY have certain of the business community and far right wing politicians deemed it appropriate to even consider paying people a wage that is below the costs of living in this country ???

                Would they like to try and live on it and bring up their family’s on subsistence wages???

                FUCK OFF MATE.

              • Common Sense – YouTube

      • Ad 3.2.2

        That’s not hard to forecast.

        Workers getting $20.55 will be currently at or above the minimum wage of $16.50.

        It will be negative because a fuel increase cost is almost as pervasive in its cost increase effects as a GST increase. Everything in the shops either uses or is transported using petrol or diesel. Those freight companies aren’t going to be holding those costs, so prices go up.

        As for people who use public transport, those costs will go up as well – though there’s massive government subsidy per ticket in there, the margins are still airtight.

        To avoid this impact, buy nothing and walk everywhere.
        I’m sure there’s three hermits in Jackson Bay who can do that.

  4. I like that the TPU seems to think the solution to the inequity of wages between public and private sectors, is for people to be paid less….

    • Yes , funny that… they seem to have a disconnect between realizing units of time and labour as a tradeable commodity…and that as inflation causes prices to rise – that also means labour costs…

    • Macro 4.2

      Now if they were talking about CEO’s and senior management getting paid less – they may have a point.

  5. Heather Grimwood 5

    Great move towards somewhat easier situation for low paid folk!
    In regard to TPU complaint about this decision being made by the Government , surely it just reflects the pattern of equal pay for women in the Public Service welcomed by so many of us long ago ( about 1960) which measure also had the hope that private employers would follow suit.

  6. The Chairman 6

    Yay!

    Now they need to extend that to those employed in their tree planting scheme.

  7. Rosemary McDonald 7

    Do y’all think this largesse will extend to the Funded Family Carers?

    Thanks to the Previous Encumbents this group of workers can only be paid the minimum wage for a maximum of forty hours per week. Plus they are not allowed to do any other paid work. By law they are locked into a subsistence existence and by law they are forbidden to contest these conditions.

    Oh, and both Labour and the Greens campaigned on repealing the PHDAct amendment.

    Still waiting.

    Ho hum.

    • cleangreen 7.1

      rosemary; – why not since the public service prison guards will get the living wage so why not care givers?

      Good plan for equal pay there coalition Government;

      Full suppoort for you all.

    • The Chairman 7.2

      “Thanks to the Previous Encumbents this group of workers can only be paid the minimum wage for a maximum of forty hours per week. Plus they are not allowed to do any other paid work. By law they are locked into a subsistence existence and by law they are forbidden to contest these conditions.”

      That is just wrong on so many levels. It absolutely requires correcting.

      Thanks for highlighting this, Rosemary.

      Do you know where this current Government sits on this? Any talk of changes in the pipeline? Or is it not even on their radar?

      • Rosemary McDonald 7.2.1

        Supposed to rectified, but Current Occupiers have gone all secret squirrel on the issue.

        The regulatory impact statement that accompanied the 2013 PHDAct legislation was soooo heavily redacted that we wonder what apocalypse was predicted.

        All largely bs.

  8. Yes ,… it certainly does seem to run contrary to the neo liberals own ideology of enterprise, free market principles and liberty to make a profit, doesn’t it… this needs looking into. It shouldn’t matter if they had a hundred jobs… its their business.

  9. Observer Tokoroa 9

    Well Done Labour!

    The Capitalist Cult will be furious ! Their brutality and bullying will reach greedy sewerage stench in next to no time.

    Already the AD bloke has spoken woe and doom and dungeon. We didn’t even have to wait for the Beedlebom Hosking or the Espiners RNZ United. AD was in like flying Flynn

    There is a way of protecting the Living Wage. Any Price rise on any item retailed in New Zealand will meet The MaxPayer Barrier. Namely, The Producer. Retailer, Transporter, will pay Additional Personal Income Tax and Trading Tax. as of today’s date.

    So, if Petrol goes up so does the personal income of the Producer, Owner, the Retailer, the Transporter.

    If Heating goes up the same applies. If cheese goes up don’t buy it.

    The time has come for the Capitalists to realise that just as they can and do shove any burden they like on any man woman or child, New Zealanders Via Law can impose any Tax they like on the wealthy.

    Aotearoa belongs to the People. Not to Capitalists and their Cruel Cults.

    Kiwis must begin to realise that just a handful of people run NZ. They run everything. They are the reason why you struggle. Make sure that if they shove up their prices you get Government to roundly shove up their personal Tax and their Trading tax.

    • … ” Kiwis must begin to realise that just a handful of people run NZ ” …

      … ” New Zealanders Via Law can impose any Tax they like on the wealthy ” …

      ^^^

    • mary_a 9.2

      @ (9) Observer Tokoroa … 100% in agreement.

    • Ad 9.3

      “There is a way of protecting the Living Wage …through the MaxPayer Barrier.”
      This is the kind of zero-analysis idea that shows you are writing out of pure emotion and zero analysis.

      If petrol goes up, incomes of those using petrol in their goods and services don’t go up. If you had any idea about the freight or transport industries you would know what happens next.

      If heating goes up, people freeze. That’s what happens in this country. Dunedin people are the most susceptible to simply turning their heaters off and suffering. Which is one reason this government is bringing in a small proviso to assist with that. What you are talking is simply devoid of reality, and you know it.

      “If cheese goes up don’t buy it.”
      Most people require some calcium, especially children. That kind of comment is so stupid because it flies in the face of actual reality. When prices go up, the people in poverty suffer, no matter what bought food choices they make. And no, most don’t have the luxury of enough land or time to feed their own for free. Most poor people are working poor.

      As for your ridiculous idea that tax law will save us from capitalism, you have simply not been awake since the GFC. They will always have better tax lawyers that we do.

      Instead of having another huge fact-free rush to the head with a keyboard and showing your inability to respond with facts against me, do the thinking world a favour and turn your computer off at the wall.

  10. mary_a 10

    Excellent news. A living wage is a good start.

  11. Observer Tokoroa 11

    Hello Wild Katipo

    NZ shoved its gear stick into the wrong slot sometime back. Which had the result of the Citizens going Backwards – while the thieves, sharpies, Bankers, Lawyers and assorted Crims gathered up all the Milk and Honey. And Loads and Loads Loads of Money.

    John Key was Sharpie par excellence. He shoved GST up high on the Citizens just to teach them how low and stupid they were. He came from nothing. Shoved Citizens money around his cobbers. Gave Pokies to his casino mates. Played with Girls.

    You see we don’t need Thieves, sharpies, Bankers, Crims and Low life, or Land Owners running us.

    We can via Law, tell the Land Owners what the Land is Worth. It belongs to the Nation.

    Nobody needs great big bits of Land. Nobody. They can’t fit it in their coffin. Can they ?

    Citizens own New Zealand. Decent people. Not gluttonous monsters. Otherwise called Capitalists.

    • Indeed,… it is time that New Zealanders once again become self aware.

      And that self awareness was exhibited during the Great Strike of 1913. It was a big impetus for the forming of the Labour party. However , in a short time , even within that party , there were those who sold out.

      But none more so than the treasonous Roger Douglas and his inner core of cadres..

      Its been 3 decades now , with an ideology that has become embedded which is based on division , bogus economic reports in order to beat the public down , justify the rort of privatization , and the theft of the public’s assets.

      But we all know something is wrong. Something just does not sit right.

      New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?
      http://www.newrightfight.co.nz/pageA.html

      But the reality is, people do not understand just how powerful they really are after 3 decades of being told nothing can be done about it. Because they ARE powerful.

      Mass protest in direct action coupled with the vote is a powerhouse in forcing change on any government. And those mass protests do not have to be centralized, either. Or all at once. And with the labour movement it has the advantage of diversity , – in fact that is a strength . Have a read as to just what our ancestors were prepared to do to enforce change on an unyielding and bloody minded right wing government.

      The 1913 General Strike: relevant to us in 2013? | Redline
      https://rdln.wordpress.com/2013/01/…/the-1913-general-strike-relevant-to-us-in-2013

  12. Observer Tokoroa 12

    Wild Katipo

    Brilliant writing!

    “Indeed,… it is time that New Zealanders once again become self aware. ”

    “But we all know something is wrong. Something just does not sit right.”

    We have been Shat on by the biggest thieves that ever shat on our Aotearoa. They are rank Evil people. Look what they have done. Stolen our homes. Made sure we never ever get a home of our own. Made us struggle to find rent.

    The Nationals are complete corrupt evil human beings. They planned all this. Thirty wicked years ago. They are engaged in a form of genocide.

    They Follow Roger. And Billy – And Paula

  13. Tuppence Shrewsbury 13

    Is it a requirement that the contracted workers who support core public staff get paid a living wage too?

    Or is there an acceptable underclass of cleaners et al?

    And if cleaners get the living wage, will the core crown workers feel they deserve a little more as they’re job requires more skill and education?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1

      You think it will provide upward pressure on wages?

      Good, that’s exactly what’s needed for a high wage economy.

      • Tuppence Shrewsbury 13.1.1

        I agree with you. But if isolated and legislated for within the public service at the taxpayers expense, there is a chance of it becoming a fiscal drag on taxpayers.

        I’m curious about its ability to spread to the productive, private sector so it has real meaning. Not just further virtue signalling

        • WILD KATIPO 13.1.1.1

          Hang on a minute , mate.

          ———————————————-

          … ” But if isolated and legislated for within the public service at the taxpayers expense, there is a chance of it becoming a fiscal drag on taxpayers ” …

          ———————————————-

          You talk of ‘ tax payers’.

          Here’s a little clue. Not all ‘ tax payers’ happen to be business people. Either running small or large businesses.

          Now , the point is ,… when this term ‘ tax payer’ is so casually bandied around these days we all are led to believe that it just implies / involves only those who are doing ”comfortably, thank you very much. ”

          It doesn’t.

          Even below the costs of living workers ( the working poor ) pay ‘ taxes’. Even the unemployed on benefits are ‘ taxed’ .

          And yet the whole premise behind the ‘ Working for Familys’ generally was collectively paid for by those very same people – often including the working poor , AND those on benefits . Which meant that the tax payer was in fact , helping to subsidize all these rogue employers paying minimum wages or less.

          That’s right – welfare for businesses . A hand out for bludgers.

          Now , … if the state leads by example and those unionized workers who work for the state receive a long overdue pay rise ,… how long do you think it will be until private concerns have to follow suit.

          I’d give it a year at best.

          Why ?… because working people of all walks and descriptions will soon see the difference and see the benefits of belonging to a unionized workforce. With standardized wages and conditions . And having an advocate to stand in for them if they feel bullied.

          And THAT is how we start to eradicate child poverty ( unless children still go out and clean chimneys in 2018 ) having a ‘ working poor ‘ class , yet the benefits are more discretionary income in the community , thus more returns for small business including more employment opportunity’s ,… and so on , the knock on effects are tremendous … even certain business leaders are saying this is not a bad thing.

          The only ones who are bitching and whining and opposing are the rogues.

          The usual culprits.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1.1.2

          Shorter TP: “I hate anything this government does, and I have the sophistry to prove it.”

          I’m curious as to your ability to say something substantive, as opposed to empty, mealy-mouthed concern trolling. Or should that be “malice-signalling”?

    • Tuppence Shrewsbury 13.2

      *Their

    • Craig H 13.3

      Not yet, but that’s coming.

  14. mac1 14

    Tuppence, there is no acceptable underclass of cleaners et al. I say this because a think tank says that cleaners are worth more than bankers.

    Cleaners add 15 times their value to their wage especially in hospitals.

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2009/dec/14/new-economics-foundation-social-value

    Every worker should get a living wage. At least. If other workers negotiate more, so be it.

    But, having finished my working career as a cleaner after many years teaching, I have nothing but respect for cleaners- the work, the effort, the worth of their work.

    I also met some old-fashioned bigotry directed towards cleaners by people who considered themselves superior. That in itself deserves better payment as compensation.

    So I hope that these contract workers who clean government facilities are treated to the same pay as government workers. This was a topic of conversation in the pub last night. My fellows agreed- a former University lecturer, a businessman and a vineyard contractor.

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