Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Christchurch council cleaners to get Living Wage

The Living Wage will soon be paid to the staff employed to clean Christchurch City Council’s public facilities following recent negotiations between the parties.

The cleaners work for facilities management services company OCS Limited, who are contracted to supply cleaning services to the Council.

OCS and the Council recently renegotiated their contract and for the first time it includes a requirement that the 82 cleaners working across the Council’s facilities must be paid a Living Wage.

It is in line with the Council’s new policy which requires all regular and ongoing suppliers to pay staff who carry out services for the Council a Living Wage.

The Living Wage is currently set at $22.75 an hour – $2.75 more than the minimum wage that all New Zealand employers are legally required to pay their adult employees.

Council General Manager Resources, Miles McConway says the costs of the cleaning contract with OCS will rise slightly as a result of the new agreement.

“We have cleaners working seven days a week to keep our facilities clean and tidy for the public and for our staff.  The job they do is very important, they do it well and as a result add real value to the services the Council provides to its citizens and visitors.”

“The cleaners deserve to be paid a Living Wage and I am delighted that we have been able to work with OCS to help make that happen,” he said.

Mr McConway said some of the costs associated with paying the OCS cleaners a Living Wage have been offset by finding other efficiencies, which means the overall contract price will increase by less than 1%.

Deputy Mayor, Andrew Turner, who chairs the Council’s Finance and Performance Committee, said he was pleased the Council’s new policy on the Living Wage was already making a difference to the lives of some of the city’s lower paid works.

“For the lowest paid in our communities, the step up to a Living Wage will make ahuge difference to their lives so I am very proud that the Council has adopted this policy. As our contracts with other suppliers come up for renewal, we will see more lower paid employees benefitting from our recent decision on the Living Wage,’’ Cr Turner says.

OCS General Manager Southern Region, Ross Cameron said cleaners were often seen as the “invisible workforce” particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Cleaners have become the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many cleaners often working day and night to keep our work, recreation, and learning environments clean, safe, productive and hygienic,” Mr Cameron says.

“We are extremely proud to see the culmination of our work with Christchurch City Council come to fruition for the benefit our extraordinary cleaners who work at the Council.”

Christchurch City Council made the decision in 2017 to adopt the Living Wage for its direct employees. In May 2019 it agreed to make annual Living Wage rate adjustments for staff, subject to negotiation with individuals and unions. 

The Council has also asked Council Controlled Organisations, via Christchurch City Holdings Ltd, to consider implementing a Living Wage for their staff.

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