Westpac NZ has become the first bank in New Zealand to be accredited as a Living Wage Employer.
The move means cleaners, security guards and other workers employed through contractors and suppliers on a regular and ongoing basis will be paid no less than the Living Wage – currently $20.55 per hour.
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.”
Mr Power said the change would benefit the workers, their families and New Zealand as a whole.
“Ultimately, we think it will benefit the economy and our business. But above all else, we think this is the right thing to do. These workers play an important role in our day-to-day operations and we value their efforts.
“As a large and influential employer, with a presence right across the country, paying a living wage is one way we can help to raise living standards.”
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,” Ms 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.”
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.