Prison escort guards will be paid the living wage of $20.20 an hour after some clever bargaining by their union.

The employees of First Security previously had a starting rate of just over $17. The new figure amounts to more than a 15 per cent pay rise.

First Security has just renegotiated its contract with Corrections in Auckland and the North. One of the aims of the renegotiations was to increase the guards' pay.

The Prison Escort & Court Custodial Services security guards have been pushing for a substantial increase in pay through their union, E tū security industry organiser Len Richards said.

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"They are currently paid well below the higher pay rates of directly-employed Corrections guards doing the same work in other parts of the country.

"At the meeting, guards strongly expressed their dissatisfaction with their pay rates, which start at just over $17 an hour."

The guards joined E tū after a meeting with the union at First Security HQ last year.

E tū has initiated bargaining with First Security for a collective employment agreement for the PECCS guards.

E tū and the Living Wage Aotearoa movement want to see all security guards paid at least the living wage.