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An end in sight for pay discrimination

8 December 2005

An end in sight for pay discrimination against young

Young people in the workforce could soon be paid the same as their adult co-workers after Green Party MP Sue Bradford's brand new private member's bill was pulled from the ballot today.

Ms Bradford's Minimum Wage (Abolition of Age Discrimination) Amendment Bill seeks to remove wage discrimination for 16 and 17 year-olds.

"I am thrilled that this important question of why these young people have a lower minimum wage than workers 18 and over is now going to be open up to public scrutiny and debate," Ms Bradford, the Greens' Industrial Relations Spokesperson, says.

Current minimum wage rates are $7.60 per hour for 16 and 17 year-olds, and $9.50 for those 18 and over.

"I realise that the possibility of young people being paid the same as other workers may not be popular with some employers. However, it is no longer acceptable that 16 and 17 year olds are able to be legally exploited because of their age.

"There are, of course, a few situations in which paying a lower minimum wage to apprentices and to those who are genuine trainees is acceptable, but when it comes to everyday paid work the discrimination must end.

"I believe that age discrimination is arbitrary, inequitable and unjustifiable under the principle of equal pay for work of equal value.

Ms Bradford says she hopes that Labour and the Maori Party will support her bill as their industrial relations policies also promote the interests of low wage workers.

"I also look forward to working alongside unions and workers, including those involved in the SuperSizeMyPay campaign, which aims to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour and end wage discrimination on the basis of age.

ENDS

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