Hamilton City Council signs up to living wage

Hamilton City Council is set to become the first city in the country to adopt a living wage policy guaranteeing its staff a wage of at least $18.40 per hour.

In a fiercely debated decision today the council has voted 8-5 to introduce a minimum living wage for all staff, phased in over two years, and funded from existing budgets, in a move likely to cost at least $170,000 per year.

Councillor Dave Macpherson, who has driven the issue, said the decision was a matter of the city council valuing all of its staff, and ''ensuring that the families they support are able to achieve a reasonable standard of living.''

''If commercial organisations like The Warehouse and Progressive Enterprises can consider such a move, the council should be prepared to fulfill its objective as a 'good employer' and do the same,'' he said.

Currently 80 staff are paid less than the $18.40 living wage, most in libraries and pools.

Today's decision by the council's strategy and policy committee, comprised of all 13 elected members, must be confirmed by the full council.