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Poverty on Union Agenda

Poverty on Union Agenda

Experiences of child poverty, low pay and sub-standard housing will be heard at a major public meeting organised by trade unions in South Auckland this weekend.

The Facing Poverty workshop has been planned by the Council of Trade Unions to address poverty and low incomes.

Convener Jill Ovens says the workshop is a response to the problems of many low-paid workers and beneficiaries who are too poor to make ends meet.

“Trade unions estimate there is more than $1.2 billion of Government surplus that could be spent on education, health, and getting rid of poverty,” she said.

As much as $500 million may be in the Budget for increases in benefit payments, plus extra money for preschool and childcare, and unions supported these priorities, Jill Ovens said.

“The workshop will push for an immediate increase in benefits, universal benefit entitlements, better labour laws, help with housing costs and the proper funding of health and education through a more progressive taxation system.”

A UK expert on child poverty, Adrian Sinfield, joins Susan St John from the Child Poverty Action Group, Green MP Sue Bradford and a number of other high-profile speakers at the workshop which will be opened at the Polynesian Centre in Mangere by the local MP, Taito Phillip Field.

The Facing Poverty Workshop runs from 10am to 3pm at the Polynesian Centre, 90 Bader Drive, Mangere, on Saturday, May 8.

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