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Wellingtonians sign up for end to “dying wage”

Aug 30th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest News, News

A LIVING wage, rather than a “dying wage” brought hundreds of people gathered at Wellington’s Wesley church in Wellington today.

The Living Wage campaign launch for the capital included a public health researcher describing the minimum wage as a dying wage.

“The dying wage we have now is morally and ethically unacceptable,” says Don Matheson, from the Massey Centre for Public Health Research.

Mr Matheson was among of hundreds of people who followed Labour Leader David Shearer, below, signing the petition for a living wage.

National secretary for the Service and Food Workers Union John Ryall says he expects today’s petition will match that of Auckland’s where 180 groups signed on.

The living wage, although not legislated, would encourage employers to pay wages that allowed workers to afford the basic necessities of life.

A figure is still being calculated, and will be decided according to the cost of living, among other factors.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown also showed her support by signing on behalf of the Wellington City Council.

“We have talked to Celia about it, sort of about the concept; it does require a lot of work to get enough support to make it easy for politicians,” says Mr Ryall.

“Politicians like the Mayor have got to actually lead as well.”

An emotional Sosefina Masoe, a cleaner at the Police College in Porirua, says her pay of $13.85 an hour is not fair.

“I’ve got heaps of bills and every pence is already spent,” she said.

“The food, the power bills are all too much.”

Mr Ryall says they are trying to change public debate from something which just despairs about the issue by putting up solutions.

“This is just the launch of it, so I think that the idea will pick up traction,” he says.

“We have always had the vision that just as we used to have a sign out by the airport saying ‘we are a nuclear free city’, we’d like to one there saying ‘we are a living wage city’.”

Wellington High school student Vera Williams had supporters singing along when she performed her Living Wage song, below.

“It doesn’t seem fair that I don’t have the money to pay to take my kids on a little holiday. I’m selling you my time,” sang the runner up in the national Living Wage song competition.



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