The Growing Pay Gap: Why It’s So Wrong

The Growing Pay Gap: Why It’s So Wrong

In her early 20s Sue Moroney worked for a trade union, where she got involved in workers’ and women’s rights and it was at that time she joined the NZ Labour Party. She was elected to Parliament as a List MP for Labour in 2005, and in her first term of Parliament was promoted to the role of Junior Government Whip. Sue has just served her third term, where she was promoted to the Shadow Cabinet, holding the portfolios of Women’s Affairs, ACC and Early Childhood Education. Sue and her family live in Tauwhare and she works mainly in Hamilton and Wellington.  She still visits Matamata regularly where her parents reside.

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Waikato wage don't add up.

Are you struggling to pay increasing rent and high petrol prices? Is your weekly budget blown because you had to pay to see the doctor? I know many local workers are struggling to make ends meet and this could be changed if people were paid a "living wage."I

I was therefore appalled to see Fonterra pay its CEO $8.32m this year - that's a whopping 57% increase on last year's pay.

And yet the people doing the actual work on farms sometimes struggle to earn the minimum wage of $15.75 per hour. How can that be fair?

Is that CEO really worth 166 times the farm worker earning $50k a year, working 57 hours a week on average with a roster where they work 6 days, have one day off and then do it all over again?

Does it take 166 workers like this to add as much value to the industry as one CEO? I very much doubt it.

And what would he spend $8m on every year anyway? It is an obscene amount for one person to have.

Then there is Hamilton City Council's CEO who got a pay increase of $60k this year, taking his salary up to $440,000 - that's a 16% pay increase. Last year, he increased his salary by $50,000.

So, in just two years his salary has increased 33%, going from $330k to $440k.

The thing I find most hypocritical about this is that four years ago, this same council rejected paying the living wage to its lowest paid staff. A paper written by senior council staff argued that rates would have to go up if staff got paid the living wage which is currently assessed at $20.20 per hour.

But when a senior staff member gets a 33% pay increase of $110k, there is no mention of the impact on rates. Funny, that.

In February this year, the council said it paid less than the living wage to 301 staff. Nearly half of them are permanent staff.

It is shocking that the Council paid 58 of its staff less than $16 per hour (the minimum wage was $15.25 then) and 175 are paid less than $18 per hour.

I think our city would be a better place to live in if CEO's massive wage increases were curtailed and more people earned the living wage instead. That's the way to do it without everyone's rates bills going up.

And I bet almost every cent of it would be spent locally, boosting the local economy.

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