20 Dec 2013

No consultation over living wage decision

8:46 pm on 20 December 2013

A Wellington city councillor is concerned there was no consultation before the council agreed to pay its directly employed staff a living wage.

From 1 January next year, about 450 employees will receive a pay increase to a minimum of $18.40 an hour.

Councillor Andy Foster says he cannot remember any situation where such a significant decision was made without public consultation. He says members of the public deserve to have a say about how their rates are spent.

An amendment to delay the implementation of the living wage until 1 July to allow for public consultation was lost on Thursday.

Business New Zealand says the decision will do almost nothing to help the people the council is targeting.

Chief executive Phil O'Reilly says increasing wages without increasing skills is unhelpful and increases costs for the council without any payback in terms of productivity and skills.

Mr O'Reilly says the decision could have implications for businesses, including employing fewer people and an increase in inflation.