City Council and Chamber agreement on living wage

13 May 2016

Wellington City Council and Wellington Chamber of Commerce have reached an agreement that will ensure the City Council’s employees continue to be paid a living wage.

From 1 July a living wage will also be paid to staff providing the Council’s core cleaning and security services.

The City Council has agreed to consult with the Chamber on any extension of a living wage to other contracts. If necessary they will seek a declaratory judgment to clarify any disagreement about the legality of any such extensions. The Council has also agreed to consult with other interested parties regarding any extensions.

Background

In 2013, Wellington City Council decided to become a living wage Council and to implement a living wage for its employees. In 2014 it decided to extend a living wage to staff of council-controlled organisations. In 2015 it proposed to consider the application of the living wage to its external contracts on a case-by-case basis.

The Chamber announced last year that it was concerned about the ability of the Council to legally pay contractors under the Local Government Act and signalled its intention to bring judicial review proceedings to determine the issue.

Earlier this year the Council and the Chamber began discussing the issues and working collaboratively towards a potential solution that would enhance the Council’s policy of providing leadership on the living wage and provide a clear position going forward on the use of the living wage with external contractors, which the Chamber was seeking.