Living wage backers make point
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.