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Minimum wage rise for some, not others

Darien FENTON

Associate Labour Spokesperson
20 January  2014                                                       MEDIA STATEMENT

Minimum wage rise for some, not others

Tens of thousands of workers who are not covered by the Minimum Wage Act will again miss out on the annual minimum wage rise, due to be announced next week, says Labour’s Associate spokesperson for Labour Darien Fenton.

“A loophole in the Minimum Wage Act means there are many thousands of New Zealanders who will not receive any increase, let alone the current minimum wage, because our minimum wage laws don’t apply to them. 

“Thousands of vulnerable contractors in cleaning, courier and truck driving services, food catering and fast food delivery workers, leaflet and newspaper delivery workers, telemarketing and security workers cannot rely on the basic minimum wage because our laws exclude them from this protection.

“There are forestry contractors further down the contracting chain who don’t earn minimum wage either, and given the spotlight on forestry health and safety, this at least should be concerning the government.

“Efforts by Labour to extend the Minimum Wage Act to include vulnerable contractors have been spurned by a National Government which is totally out of touch with the reality for many sub-minimum wage workers. 

“Statistics show that while employment may be growing slowly, insecure work arrangements are growing with it.

“In a time of supposed recovery, every worker in New Zealand should be able to look forward to a fair minimum wage, including those outside traditional employment relationships.

“It’s a no-brainer for the government really. By increasing the statutory minimum wage to $15 an hour, as Labour would, it could be making a real difference to more than 220,000 workers paid less than that.” 

ENDS

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