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Community Urged to Make Poverty Wages History

Panel Calls on Community to Make Poverty Wages History

A diverse panel of community representatives is calling on all New Zealanders to make poverty wages history in 2006 at a press conference this Wednesday January 25, 12 noon at the Mercure Hotel, 8 Customs St.

The panel includes grassroots organisations, including health, student, ethnic and poverty groups, NGOs, unions and political representatives and will be joined by fast food workers from the SuperSizeMyPay.Com campaign to address New Zealand’s low wage crisis.

“The panel recognises low pay and a substandard minimum wage as being at the heart of poverty in New Zealand. It supports the fast food workers and their SuperSizeMyPay.Com campaign as a step towards winning a reasonable standard of living and making poverty wages history for all New Zealanders,” said John Minto, spokesperson for Global Peace and Justice Auckland.

SuperSizeMyPay.Com campaign co-ordinator, Simon Oosterman said that a broad range of community groups were adding their voices to fast food workers and customers for a liveable wage, highlighting that low wages have a detrimental impact on the community.

“Community groups are joining the fast food workers’ call for McDonald’s, Burger King and (Restaurant Brands restaurants) KFC, Starbucks and Pizza Hut, to take social responsibility for the welfare of their workers, their families and the wider community,” Oosterman said.

“In 2004, 19% of families had incomes below the poverty line and 43% of dependent children in sole parent families were living below the poverty line. [1] Over 22% of households reported that ‘food runs out because of lack of money’. [2]

“As the biggest brands, these companies set the wage standards for the entire industry and are in a key position to play a major role in making poverty wages history in New Zealand.

“Accepting the SuperSizeMyPay.Com demands for a $12 minimum wage, abolition of youth rates and secure hours would be a step in the right direction,” Oosterman concluded.

On Sunday February 12 at 2pm, community groups will join the Unite union and workers from the SuperSizeMyPay.Com campaign at the Auckland Town Hall for “Stopwork to Stop Low Pay”: the first public fast food stopwork meeting held in over 20 years. The panel is calling on the public to take action against poverty wages by attending the meeting which will feature bands, speakers and comedians.

Industrial negotiations continue despite the minimum wage increasing on March 27 to $10.25 up from $9.50 with youth rates for 16 and 17 year-olds increasing from $7.60 to $8.20. SuperSizeMyPay.Com is supporting Sue Bradford’s Youth Rates Bill to be debated in Parliament on February 15.

ENDS


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