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Low Pay a Blight on NZ's Record

25 January 2006

Low Pay a Blight on NZ's Record

The National Distribution joins others at an event organised by the campaign today to call for an end to the low pay and insecure work that blights hundreds of thousands of New Zealand workers.

The coalition of groups is calling for:

* A $12 an hour minimum wage * Secure hours of work as of right * The abolition of youth rates

NDU National Secretary, Laila Harré, says that low pay affects more women and teenagers than adult men "but it is not just an issue for these groups".

"I have just come back from two days talking to timber mill workers in Northland who earn $12 an hour after 15 years work. They have to make up their wages with overtime.

"The way we treat women and young people in the workforce is a national scandal. Youth rates and the loss of penal rates mean that the take home pay of young workers in shops has halved since 1991."

Laila Harré says the pay scandal must be addressed by workers directly and by Government.

"We know that an adult worker in a union supermarket starts on around $2.50 an hour more than the minimum wage. In a non-union supermarket the minimum wage rules."

"Organising in unions for better pay does work, but it's not enough. The Government also has an obligation to protect our human right to decent work and fair pay."


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