Introducing a ''living wage'' for all Dunedin City
Council's low-paid employees could cost the council at least
The council has been asked to support the Kiwi Living Wage
Campaign, which is calling for low-paid workers to be paid a
minimum of $18.40 an hour to enable them to fully participate
in society. The minimum wage is $13.74.
The Hamilton City Council this week became the first city in
New Zealand to adopt a living-wage policy and other councils
around the country were considering it.
Dunedin City Council chief executive Paul Orders said the
council was ''sympathetic'' to the principle of a living wage
but its implications had to be considered.
It had 69 staff (21 full-time equivalents), mostly in the
library and aquatic areas, who were paid below the
living-wage level, he said.
Council managers were looking at the impact adopting a living
wage would have on its salary structure and would consider it
during wage negotiations.
If the council brought staff now receiving less than the
living wage up to that level, there could be implications for
staff on grades just above the living-wage level, he said.
Extending the living-wage policy to its contractors could
have implications on rates, as well as the viability of those
businesses, he said.
''They are likely to push some of their additional costs on
to the DCC in terms of higher prices for their services.''
The council's procurement policy was also being reviewed and
benchmarked against best practice, Mr Orders said.
''As well as considering the results of that review, we will
be taking into account a variety of issues raised by
councillors and the public around how we could improve our
procurement, not least to maximise the impact of our
expenditure on local businesses.''
The council already required suppliers to meet certain health
and safety standards and was looking at doing the same with
insurance, he said.
''Making changes of this nature needs to be done with care.''