“I’m getting too old to work lots of hours a night, I’ve been working all my life with a low wage and I can’t afford anything.” Those were the worlds of Jaine Ikurere, 63 years old, she works two jobs to make ends meet, and one of those jobs is cleaning offices in parliament. She is paid just $14.60 an hour, and that’s as a supervisor, most of her colleagues are paid just $13.85, just 35 cents above the minimum wage.
One of the offices she cleans belongs to John Key, the wealthiest member of parliament with a net worth of over $50 million. The union that represents the cleaners, the Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU) is campaigning to have parliaments cleaners paid a minimum of $15 an hour. With a pay rise Jaine Ikurere would quit her second job and spend more time with her grandchildren.
Parliamentary Services sees cleaner’s wages as an issue between them and their employer- Spotless Services, who is contracted to clean parliament.