Report by NewsroomPlus.com
Contributed By: Olexander Barnes
The weather outlook wasn’t flash, but that was never going to put off the 200 plus Wellington City Council cleaners and their supporters who met in front of Wesley Church on Taranaki Street to have breakfast before they began their march towards Civic Square in support of the council’s policy of providing all its workers with a living wage.
The march was organised by Living Wage Movement Aotearoa NZ and was supported by the Public Services Association. The Living Wage Movement Aotearoa has been one of the main groups in fighting for employees to be paid a living wage. This is a wage that the average person and their family can live off comfortably, rather than the minimum wage which is lower and does not provide enough money for a full-time worker to sustain themselves and their family.
Many of the participants held mops, an object synonymous with cleaners as they marched through Manners Mall towards Civic Square with their route taking them past the council’s chambers. They were led by rousing tunes provided by Wellington band Brass Razoo.
Once gathered at Civic Square, a great deal of support was shown to the council for its actions in the adoption and implementing a living wage policy for its workers. Members of the council who were present were invited to come forward, of which several of those present did.
Shortly thereafter Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown appeared in her Mayoral Apparel, to cheers from the gathered crowd and was warmly embraced by one of the organisers.
Deputy Mayor Justin Lester then took the megaphone, telling the gathered crowd of the council’s continued dedication to making sure that its workers would be paid a living wage.
The megaphone was then handed over to Celia who recalled her shock to learn when the policy was first put forward how many of the council’s workers were not paid a wage that they could live off. She continued in saying that the council would be expanding the policy to cover those working as contractors to the council but said that this would have to be done on a case-by-case basis in relation to each contracted company.
After Celia finished her speech, Brass Razoo gave one last energetic blast on their horns before the march ended and people filtered off to their jobs.