A Henderson tofu maker has become the first Auckland employer to sign up to the living wage campaign, promising to pay its six factory workers at least $18.40 an hour within a year.What's the non-disclosure? Jesse Chalmers is a left-wing activist and Green Party member. She stood for the left wing City Vision ticket at the last Auckland local body elections, and was elected to the Waitemata Local Board.
Tonzu, a family-owned company, has a current starting wage of $15 an hour and says it would cost $600 a week to lift everyone to $18.40 - a pay rise averaging $100 a week for workers such as 31-year-old mother-of-four Meaalofa Meke.
But brother-and-sister directors Dan and Jesse Chalmers, who took over the business from their parents Lippy and Ricky, believe they will be able to find the money within a year by cutting wastage and other costs.
In the meantime, Lippy Chalmers joined a delegation that asked Auckland Mayor Len Brown to adopt the living wage for his council, and Jesse Chalmers said Tonzu had been working towards lifting wages to two-thirds of the average wage anyway.
So essentially, this is a pitch by a local board member to her own council in the guise of a responsible business owner caring for her employees.
Dick Hubbard would be proud.