About 7% of University of Otago's full-time equivalent staff
are paid less than the ''living wage'' of $18.40 an hour,
Figures released to the Otago Daily Times under the
Official Information Act showed ''around'' 250 full-time
equivalent staff were paid less than $18.40 an hour.
Of those paid less than the ''living wage'', 51% were
The figures were from 2012, because full-year numbers for
last year were unavailable, when there were 3755 full-time
equivalent staff employed by the university.
All up, the university paid 10,636 employees in 2012, the
vast majority of whom were based at its Dunedin campus.
Staff salaries are expected to cost the university $340
million this year.
The release of the figures comes after it was revealed late
last year that 634 Otago University staff members were paid
more than $100,000 in the 2012-13 financial year.
Tertiary Education Union (TEU) Otago University organiser
Shaun Scott said he was not surprised about the numbers
earning less than $18.40.
''A lot of those will be students employed in places like the
student union, the shops and at halls of residence.''
However, having people at the university earning less than
$18.40 was an ''issue'' the union - which was part of New
Zealand living wage coalition - would likely discuss during
bargaining this year.
''It is an issue. There is a lot of evidence about the
disparity of incomes and the bad outcomes that has for
individuals and society as a whole.''
Discussions with the university would likely centre around
improving pay rates for the lowest paid staff at the
The number of staff earning more than $100,000 at the
university did not necessarily have any relevance in
discussions about the living wage, Mr Scott said.
The university's role as a ''critic and conscience of
society'' was about academics discussing issues of public
importance in the public domain as opposed to ''putting an
onus on the employer'' to pay staff a certain rate, he said.