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Living wage campaign launch for Wellington

Aug 29th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest News, News

SMALL businesses are showing their support for a “living wage” campaign which has its Wellington launch this week.

Living Wage pushes for workers to be paid enough money to actually live on- not just survive on the bare minimum.

The national campaign co-ordinator for the Service and Food Workers Union Annie Newman says the private sector has already shown their support.

“They came to us and said they think it is really important [to pay better wages],” says Ms Newman.

“It’s really positive. The minimum wage is not enough,” says Ms Newman.

Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand, which launched in Auckland in May, will launch its Wellington campaign at Wesley Church on Thursday afternoon.

There is still no established living wage, which is calculated according to the cost of living and reviewed every year.

“It takes time and a lot of work to get a robust figure,” she says.

The campaign launch comes a week after the Ministry of Social Development released a report that puts income inequality at its highest level to date.

The idea of a living wage is new to New Zealand, but something that has been happening for years in parts of America and the UK.

London launched their campaign in 2001 and their website says that they have since won over 70 million of Living Wages, and helped 10,000 families out of working poverty.

Ms Newman says even that figure is out of date, and it is more like 15,000 families who have been helped.

Greater London Council and London Olympics 2012 are two employers that adopted the living wage.

The campaign has received a lot of support from the community and MPs as well as businesses in the private sector, says Ms Newman.

The launch on Thursday will bring together over 70 community and faith-based groups, Unions and Members of Parliament.

“We are hoping for a broad cross section of people at the launch,” says Ms Newman.

Living Wages has gradually been building an alliance of support, especially from Labour party, Greens, members of NZ first and Hone Harawira.

“We have a lot of support,” says Ms Newman, who thinks Government will be the main obstacle to getting Living Wages.

There are about 90,600 New Zealanders currently on the minimum wage which is $13.50.

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