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WCC needs urgent employment law opinion

  • February 19th, 2014

I hope the Wellington City Council is seeking urgent legal advice. Its pious members voted for a “living wage”  for its employees. Of course they're using other people’s money (including many pensioners who'll be on far less than the 'living wage'). According to Business New Zealand the 'living wage' formula would make it now $22.89, but its promoters are trying to disguise that with an upward adjustment of only a few cents, to $18-40.

That raises an interesting legal question. Which version has our Council signed up to?

Hopefully the caring councillors were their usual duplicitous selves. Claims to support the living wage slogan were presumably coupled with cunning words that meant no such thing. But we'd all like assurance on questions such as:

  1. Was discretion reserved to resist employee claims for the $22.89;
  2. Assuming it was, exactly what version of "living wage" did we get? Does it distinguish DPF's 16 year old living at home (who should now get $46k) from the single income family of four in the slogan;
  3. If the formula was not the “living wage” of the public campaign, is there exposure for being misleading and deceptive. Celebrating employees must have thought they could rely on Councillor claims to support the slogan; and
  4. If the Council must now renege, is there  liability to employees who spent up large in reliance on their employer's words?

 I should wade through Council minutes to piece it all together. But it will be too infuriating. The trite "reasoning". The wilful ignorance. The glib indifference to longer term implications (such as blocking turnover in jobs the incumbents will now 'own', unable to find anything better). And probably an equal indifference to moral and perhaps legal duties but with little practical likelihood that anyone will enforce them against the reckless Council and Councillors.



My Wife works for about $NZ11 an hour, here in Christchurch in Restaurant kitchen, in the real world . She is Thai. No tax. No names.
I hear in the USA the minimum wage is about $US10


Last year I met a woman who worked for $NZ8 an hour. I said I will sort this out tomorrow. She said no you won’t, .. you go in there in your gumboots and I get the sack,.. I get to go back to Asia,

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