Labour’s support for Youth Wage Bill Good News
The union for retail workers says that Labour’s announcement that it will support a Bill abolishing minimum wage youth rates over its first hurdle will give young workers a chance to win public support for the measure.
NDU National Secretary Laila Harre says it is time that Parliament reviewed the impact of youth wage discrimination and low youth wages on individuals, firms and communities.
Laila Harre said that when the Labour-Alliance Government increased the relativity of the youth wage to the adult wage in 2000 (from 60% to 100% for 18&19 year olds and 80% for 16&17 year olds) research was undertaken to assess the employment effects of this significant increase.
“That research did not show any negative employment effect and earlier research on young people had shown that youth minimum wage increases did not reduce youth incomes through job losses”.
Laila Harre says young worker are facing an “enormous struggle” to win minimum wages through collective bargaining.
“Even in unionised supermarkets youth wages are being held down by the minimum wage youth rates being paid in non-union supermarkets. The abolition of minimum wage youth rates will go some way, but not even all the way, towards restoring the real value of youth wages in the retail sector. Those real wages have been roughly halved since the Employment Contracts Act in 1991.”