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Bradford pledges cash for wages campaign

24 January 2005

Bradford pledges cash for wages campaign

Green Party MP Sue Bradford is putting her money where her mouth is in Auckland tomorrow by pledging half of her MP's back pay to a campaign to improve the lot of low paid workers.

The $850 will go toward the SupersizeMyPay.Com action aimed at increasing the minimum wage to $12 an hour, achieve more secure hours of work and abolish youth rates.

Ms Bradford was outspoken when MPs were granted a 4 percent wage increase just prior to Christmas and says in this case she was happy to contribute a significant part of her back pay to a campaign she feels so strongly about.

"I am pleased to also be launching as part of this a campaign to gather support for my private member's bill aimed at abolishing youth rates for 16 and 17 year-olds.

Ms Bradford is working with unions and young people's groups to muster support from other political parties for her Minimum Wage (Abolition of Age Discrimination) Amendment Bill, which is to have its first reading in the House on February 15.

"It's an outrage that young people are still subject to the same kind of discrimination that used to happen to women. Why should a 16 or 17 year-old receive less pay than an 18 year-old doing exactly the same work.

"Employers should recognise the fairness of paying a young person the same rate as their older workmates for the same job.

The Green Party believes the minimum wage should be immediately raised to $12 an hour, not put off for three years as Labour has done.

"At present employers can comfortably pay their staff the minimum wage of $9.50 for adults and $7.60 for young people with the knowledge that the Government will make up the difference through subsidies like the accommodation supplement and Working for Families package."

Ms Bradford expects there will be considerable support for her bill from among Labour, New Zealand First and Maori Party MPs.

"It's high time the plight of New Zealand's lowest paid workers was given the political consideration it needs. I am pleased to be working alongside the unions, community groups and youth organisation that have joined forces to push for change in this area," she says.


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