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Auckland Council stealthily implements Living Wage

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Vic Crone

Auckland, September 4, 2016

Many, including (Mayoral Candidate) Phil Goff, will be surprised that Auckland Council is already implementing policies toward a living wage.

A policy of prioritising pay increases for lower wage Council staff has been in place via a “social equity” principle as part of annual salary increases.

While Councillors voted against the living wage policy in 2013, in July 2014 a new remuneration policy was passed, which in effect moves toward the same thing.

The Council’s social equity policy prioritises increases for employees in roles at the lower end of the pay scale.

Opaque Move

Apart from the complete lack of transparency from Council, it raises questions about how much Phil Goff understands what’s really going on in Council. Or does his recently released policy intend to lift staff wages over and above these existing social equity components?

Current Mayor Len Brown also made an election promise to pay for this living wages policy through efficiency savings. Once elected, he put forward a budget proposal to instead fund a proportion through rates.

I am opposed to living wage and social equity policies in Council.

Increases should be related to performance that delivers benefits to Aucklanders, or on a case by case basis where someone is paid well under market value.”

Key points:

The Council introduced a new component called a “social equity increase” to annual salary increases.

The social equity payment affects the lowest four remuneration bands in Council, covering 1300 staff and is applied regardless of staff performance.

Council documents state “accelerated increases delivered to employees in band ranges A, B, C and D, through an innovative approach we call the Social Equity Factor.”

This social equity factor has resulted in accelerated growth in pay for people in lower bands, applied at the rate of 3% (2015 pay review) and 1.5% (2016 pay review).

Salary band C and D average pay is above the living wage, whereas A and B are below.

Vic Crone is a candidate for Auckland Mayorality.

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