WelCom October 2022
Heeding Pope Francis’ encouragement for dioceses worldwide to collaborate with people’s movements, the Archdiocese of Wellington’s Ecology, Justice and Peace (EJP) Commission has joined the Living Wage Movement Aotearoa New Zealand with Cardinal John Dew’s support.
Worldwide, communities are uniting to address poverty and inequality through living wage campaigns. The Living Wage Movement Aotearoa New Zealand was formed in 2012 to address working poverty impacting New Zealand workers, their families and the economy.
The Movement brings together community, secular, union and faith-based groups to campaign for a living wage. It calls on the government, employers and society to strive for a living wage for all households as a necessary and important step in reducing poverty in New Zealand.
John Kennedy-Good of the Poverty Committee of the EJP Commission and a commission representative within the Movement says social justice and Catholic social teaching on the dignity of work and just wages require employers to engage with this issue and to take a stand, by paying employees fairly. ‘This in turn means employees are rewarded on the basis of what their families need to lead decent lives and enable them to participate in society.’
The Movement encourages employers to pay employees above the legal minimum wage to ensure all workers and their families have enough to live in dignity and enable them to participate in school events and community activities. The current rate of $23.65 came into effect on 1 September 2022.
The Movement has an accreditation system available for employers who meet the criteria to become a Living Wage employer. There are over 300 accredited employers in New Zealand, including city councils, the banking sector, law firms, and small-to-medium businesses.
‘There is a need to put into practice our values and lead by example. It may not be possible for some employers to move immediately, but we should encourage payment of the Living Wage as soon as practical,’ says John Kennedy-Good.
Go to livingwage.org.nz for more information. Join ‘Justice and Peace Archdiocese of Wellington’ Facebook group or visit wn.catholic.org.nz