Liv­ing wage back­ers make point

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

Si­tua Fan­gatauli wants a liv­ing wage to pay the bills, feed her fam­ily and ‘‘have dig­nity in my life’’.

Fan­gatauli was one of two Porirua City Coun­cil em­ploy­ees who gave oral sub­mis­sions to the coun­cil’s An­nual Plan hear­ings last week.

She said she was on the min­i­mum wage and had another job clean­ing at a lo­cal bar, but needed even more hours to make ends meet.

The min­i­mum wage is $15.25 an hour but Liv­ing Wage Aotearoa wants coun­cil em­ploy­ees to be paid $19.25.

Fan­gatauli said her clean­ing work was tough and took her away from her fam­ily in the evening.

‘‘The money I earn barely pays the bills and re­cently we had our phone cut off,’’ she said. ‘‘I can’t send our chil­dren to hol­i­day pro­grammes.

‘‘The liv­ing wage for me means more food in the pantry, pay­ing our bills and we will all be happier. I will have dig­nity in my life.’’

James O’Neil told coun­cil­lors his job as a gar­dener, for $16.70 an hour, was ‘‘a hard slog’’. With a liv­ing wage, he said he could par­tic­i­pate in the com­mu­nity more.

‘‘I’m a solo fa­ther with a 5-yearold daugh­ter, so I can’t do ex­tra hours,’’ he said. ‘‘All my money goes on ev­ery­day liv­ing and my daugh­ter, and we live week-toweek.

‘‘It’s not easy. I haven’t bought new shoes in many years.’’

Econ­o­mist Prue Hy­man sub­mit­ted that the fig­ure of $860,000 quoted as the cost to in­stil a liv­ing wage in Porirua was over­es­ti­mated and the even­tual cost could be im­ple­mented over sev­eral years.

There were spinoffs to a liv­ing wage for coun­cil em­ploy­ees, she said.

‘‘You have a happy work­force that aren’t as stressed, are loyal, turnover of staff is less and train­ing costs are re­duced,’’ she said.

‘‘Peo­ple also have more money to spend in their com­mu­nity so it’s not just some­thing so­cial, but makes eco­nomic sense.’’

Porirua Cham­ber of Com­merce did not sup­port a liv­ing wage for the coun­cil.

‘‘The liv­ing wage in­creases the neg­a­tive im­pact on ratepay­ers, coun­cil’s fi­nances and Porirua’s abil­ity to grow and pros­per,’’ the cham­ber said.

The liv­ing wage del­e­ga­tion be­fore head­ing to Porirua City Coun­cil’s An­nual Plan hear­ings.

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