The Living Wage Movement is appalled by the $1.1 million in bonuses paid to senior executives at four of Auckland's council-controlled organisations.
Secretary Catriona MacLennan said it is hypocritical of the council to pay some workers so highly and others so lowly given its advocacy to reduce inequality.
"These bonuses are particularly despicable given that CCOs refused to pay the living wage to contracted workers," she said.
The Herald today revealed 64 executives at Watercare, Panuku, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) and Regional Facilities Auckland were paid bonuses totalling $1.1m in the last financial year.
The bonuses took Auckland mayor Phil Goff by surprise and he wants the practice to stop and a common salary policy across the council and CCOs. The bonus issue will be included in an independent review of the CCOs.
Goff, a former Labour MP, introduced the living wage for council and CCO staff in his first term and has promised to extend it across the council and CCOs to contracted cleaners in his second term.
MacLennan has written a paper which says the council, with its multi-billion budget, can afford the tiny sum to pay the living wage to contracted workers.
She has come up with 10 ways to do this, including a pay freeze for staff earning more than $100,000, cutting the travel budget, dipping into $500m of "value for money" savings over the next decade, and reducing spending on the America's Cup.
The living wage is currently $21.15 an hour. The highest-paid officer at the council, Watercare chief executive Raveen Jaduram, is paid $775,000, or $372.60 an hour.
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Jaduram's pay rise of $50,000 last year is more than a full year's living wage packet of $43,992. Panuku chief executive Roger MacDonald's pay rise and bonus of $82,500 was almost double a living wage pay packet.
The Herald revealed 38 Panuku staff were paid bonuses totalling $451,156 at an average of $11,872 each in the past year. Of Watercare's 940 staff, 20 were paid bonuses totalling $543,000 at an average of $27,150 each.
At Ateed, five executives were paid $121,682 in bonuses in the past year, an average of $24,336 each.
Regional Facilities Auckland chief executive Chris Brooks is not paid a bonus, but one executive receives a bonus based on an old employment contract.
Last year, the executive was paid a bonus of $15,000 for exceeding a target of $15.3m gross commercial revenue for the CCO.
The Auckland Council and Auckland Transport - the two largest council bodies - do not pay bonuses.
Panuku, Regional Facilities and Ateed said they paid the living wage to staff in line with council policy.
Watercare said of the 945 staff, 16 earn below the living wage. Of those, 14 are union members and their union is currently in pay negotiations.
Of the other two, one is an exchange student due to finish next month and the other is a student working part-time and about to begin a fulltime job next month on a pay rate above the living wage.