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Debt Report Highlights High Price of Low Pay

Debt Report Highlights High Price of Low Pay

A major report into poverty and debt shows the desperate need in many families for decent work and a rise in the minimum wage, Council of Trade Unions secretary Carol Beaumont said today.

The CTU strongly supports the findings of the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services report, which calls for improved pay for low income workers, lower abatement rates for beneficiaries, help in the transition between benefits and paid work, and higher benefit levels.

“The workers’ stories in the report highlight the human cost of job insecurity and casualisation,” Carol Beaumont said. “Low wage workers struggling to make ends meet do not have the financial reserves to cope with unexpected expenses, let alone reduced income if their hours are cut.”

The CTU conference this week will highlight many of these issues, including the difficulties workers face trying to balance paid work with family and community responsibilities, she said.

“Families with children often have the lowest incomes and highest levels of debt. Yet as the report shows, there are significant barriers facing parents, especially mothers, from moving into decent, sustainable paid work.”

The CTU supports the NZCCSS’s recommendations for full and decent employment to meet the needs of workers with family responsibilities.

The CTU conference will focus on solutions to enable working people to have greater control over their lives. These include investment in skills, the need for pay equity, work-life balance, and more support for those on low incomes.

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