Wellington Scoop

Lavery tells why 17 parking wardens lost their jobs; “new higher standards”

The City Council today released information about why some workers lost their jobs when the parking warden roles were brought in house.

Chief Executive Kevin Lavery said that as part of requiring new higher standards, some people employed by the contractor were not subsequently employed by the council.

Here is the council’s statement:

A report released today alleges that 17 Wellington City Council staff lost their jobs due to the implementation of the Living Wage. This is factually inaccurate.

The Wellington City Council chose to bring our Parking Warden roles in house over two years ago, in order to get better service and expect higher standards. As part of that process, a range of new standards were implemented for staff in that role including stronger customer service, being able to work with new technology and a range of health checks. As part of requiring these new higher standards, some people who were employed by the contractor were not subsequently employed by WCC.

To say this happened because of the Living Wage policy, is inaccurate.

Press Release – New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union
The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union thanks Wellington City Council Chief Executive Kevin Lavery for so quickly conceding the central criticism of a report on living wage policies released by the Taxpayers’ Union,, that those earning on or close to the minimum wage are often not shortlisted for living wage jobs.

Jim Rose, the Taxpayers’ Union Research Fellow who authored the report, says, “Mr Lavery’s acknowledgment proves the key flaw in living wage policies – they simply result in higher quality people being employed and do nothing to help those at the bottom of the pile. As a result, only 13 of the 30 previously employed parking wardens were up to the new mark and rehired when the Council brought parking services in-house.”

“Mr Lavery also confirmed the fatal flaw with living wage policies that employers hire on merit. Whenever they recruit for a living wage vacancy, such as when the parking wardens were brought in-house, the minimum wage workers who previously were hired for those council jobs do not get a callback. They are crowded out by more qualified, better-skilled workers who would previously would not consider council jobs such as a parking warden.”

The Taxpayers’ Union has today published the source documentation on its website including responses to official information requests lodged with the Wellington City Council about the implementation of its living wage policy. See www.taxpayers.org.nz/living_wage

The Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union, Jordan Williams, says, “Even Living Wage Wellington acknowledges that the job losses were because the people could not up-skill – their 2016 Campaign Review was our original source. As shown in the correspondence, Council officials subsequently confirmed this in writing.”