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Unions Issue Wake-up Call to Workers

26 May 2005

Unions Issue Wake-up Call to Workers

The Council of Trade Unions is issuing a wake-up call to workers as political parties reveal where they really stand in the battle over wages and taxes.

“Their policies are out there and workers have to sit up and take notice as the general election draws near,” CTU president Ross Wilson said today.

“Workers have to listen hard to what the parties are saying and think about what they want from the next government.”

National and Act were promising tax cuts which would mostly benefit the rich, result in significant cuts to public services and push up mortgage interest rates.

“They want tax cuts rather than decent wage rises - that means the Government subsiding employers and more and more New Zealanders leaving for better pay in Australia.”

The National Party had a serious credibility challenge in persuading New Zealanders that it was concerned about improving wages, Ross Wilson said.

“When National was last in Government they froze the adult minimum wage at $7.00 an hour for three years. The minimum for workers under 20 was just $4.20 an hour.”

Labour-led Governments since 1999 have increased the minimum wage from $7.00 to $9.50; a 35.7% increase in just over 5 years.

“Workers should not be fooled by National’s claims they want wages to go up,” Ross Wilson said. “Their track record shows exactly the opposite; even for the lowest paid in the workforce.”

Adult minimum wage rises (hourly)

Date of rise Rise from ($) Percentage rise

11 June 1981 2.00 to 2.10 5.0

5 February 1985 2.10 to 2.50 18.8
2 September 1985 2.50 to 4.25 70.0
9 February 1987 4.25 to 5.25 23.5
8 February 1988 5.25 to 5.63 7.1
15 May 1989 5.63 to 5.88 4.4
17 September 1990 5.88 to 6.13 4.3

22 March 1995 6.13 to 6.25 2.0
18 March 1996 6.25 to 6.38 2.0
1 March 1997 6.38 to 7.00 9.8

Youth 1999 $4.20 under 20 years, Adult 1999 $7.00

Minimum Wage since Labour elected in 1999
Adult 18/19 16/17
6 March 2000 $7.55 $4.55 $4.55
5 March 2001 $7.70 $7.70 $5.40
18 March 2002 $8.00 $8.00 $6.40
24 March 2003 $8.50 $8.50 $6.80
1 April 2004 $9.00 $9.00 $7.20
21 March 2005 $9.50 $9.50 $7.60


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