Westpac NZ cleaners to receive living wage

Westpac NZ becomes first bank in NZ to be accredited as a Living Wage Employer.

Cleaners, security guards and other workers employed through contractors and suppliers by Westpac NZ will be paid no less than the Living Wage, after Westpac NZ became the first bank in NZ to be accredited as a Living Wage Employer.

Westpac NZ general manager of consumer banking and wealth, Simon Power, said the organisation was committed to helping improve New Zealanders’ financial position.

“We want to lead by example. We already pay our staff a living wage and we now we want to extend that to contractors and suppliers,” he said.

Westpac NZ general manager of operations, Leanne Lazarus, said the changes would benefit 480 workers.

“The key contractor and supplier areas that are in-scope to receive the Living Wage are commercial cleaning services, security guards, catering services, maintenance services and pest control,” Lazarus said.

“We encourage other large organisations to look at whether this is something they can also do or look at other ways they can improve working conditions through their supply chain.”

Cleaners union E tū has congratulated Westpac for becoming an accredited Living Wage Employer.

E tū’s Living Wage lead organiser, Mat Danaher, says that it’s brilliant news for cleaners.

“We know that workers employed by contractors can often get left out of the wages discussion,” he said. “

Westpac are showing that to truly be a responsible employer, anyone with regular and ongoing work in an organisation needs to be paid fairly.

“Many E tū members in jobs on or near the minimum wage have seen massive increases thanks to the Living Wage Movement and the employers who are stepping up to the plate.”

Danaher added it’s time for other banks and wealthy organisations to get on board.

“Westpac are one of very many organisations who could easily absorb the small cost of bringing workers employed by contractors up to the Living Wage. We’re calling on the other big Aussie banks, and indeed all large, profitable organisations, to take this important step.”

Organisations moving to the Living Wage has positive effects that reach further than just the workers who get an increase.

“All the evidence says that bringing up wages is the most straight-forward way to address inequality. This has massive flow-on effects for our whole economy. Low pay costs our country billions – through low productivity, poor health and education outcomes, and the government top ups that poverty wages necessitate,” said Danaher.

“A big congratulations to Westpac for breaking the cycle. Our members across many industries and organisations are looking forward to achieving the same.”

The National Convenor of Living Wage Movement Aotearoa NZ, Annie Newman, said Westpac coming onboard was another historic milestone for the movement.

“We have always called on wealthy corporates to lead the way on the Living Wage, and we congratulate Westpac for setting an example to the many other corporates who should follow their lead,” she said.

“Westpac is joining well over 100 New Zealand employers who know the Living Wage is good for their workers, good for the economy and also good for business.”

Many Westpac NZ contractors and suppliers are already Living Wage compliant. Westpac NZ will work closely with the remaining in-scope contractors and suppliers to introduce the Living Wage.

The bulk of these changes will occur in 2019, with the final agreed milestones occurring in 2020 and 2021.

The Living Wage is currently $20.55 per hour, $4.05 more than the minimum wage set by the Government.

Accreditation by Living Wage Movement Aotearoa NZ recognises Westpac NZ’s commitment to pay no less than the Living Wage to directly employed and contracted workers who delivered services on a regular and ongoing basis.

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