Staff at Invercargill City Council are shocked and upset following an announcement by Chief Executive Clare Hadley that the Council intends to slash their pay by up to 50%.
Hadley announced her intention to implement aggressive wage cuts in a newsletter sent to staff on April 22nd, outlining a framework in which those working full time will receive 100% pay, those working part time receive 75% pay, while those whose role means they cannot currently work will receive just 50% pay.
Only a few paragraphs after declaring the Council’s “strong financial performance” means it can “anticipate an increased surplus”, she told ICC employees they could make up the money she is taking from them by using their annual leave.
“We are disgusted to see an employer who can afford to look after their staff choosing instead to kick them while they’re down,” says Glenn Barclay, National Secretary of the Public Service Association.
“Those of us staying home are doing exactly what’s required to win the fight against covid-19, but now a rogue employer wants to punish people for doing their part. Anyone who treats workers like this should be ashamed of themselves.”
The worst affected people are predominantly employed in Invercargill’s pools and libraries, and are among the lowest paid council staff.
ICC has not yet joined other councils as an accredited Living Wage employer, but following sustained pressure the council’s minimum rate has risen to $20 per hour.
“Someone paid barely a dollar above minimum wage simply cannot afford to have half their pay check taken away. This decision will cause hardship to rate paying Invercargill families, and is a betrayal of the values the Council should uphold,” says Mr Barclay.
“An employer cannot unilaterally cut the wages of our members. Contractual changes must be negotiated in good faith and implemented by agreement. We do not agree with this cruel decision.”