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Minimum Wage Increase Needed For LowIncome Workers

MEDIA RELEASE

23 February 2004

Minimum Wage Increase Needed For Low-Income Workers

The increase in the minimum wage is welcome news for low-paid workers, Council of Trade Unions secretary Carol Beaumont said today.

The Minister of Labour has announced that the adult minimum wage will go up 50 cents to $9 an hour from April 1.

“The increase falls well below what the CTU was seeking in its submission for an immediate movement to $10.52 an hour and a phasing in of a minimum wage that is two-thirds of the average wage,” Carol Beaumont said.

However, the increase to $9 an hour maintains the momentum of this Government which has increased the minimum wage regularly since 2000 and has made significant changes to the youth minimum wage.

“This compares with the previous National government which froze the minimum wage at $7.00 an hour for three years.

“There is a strong labour market which can absorb these increases in the minimum wage,” Carol Beaumont said. “In our submission we noted that unemployment kept falling even when there were significant increases in the youth minimum wage.”

ENDS

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