NZCTU MEDIA RELEASE
08 May 2006
Wages Need To Keep Rising, says CTU
"Wages have taken some time to catch up after 5 strong years of economic growth, and they must continue to rise if we are to address our low wage crisis," Peter Conway, Council of Trade Unions Economist said today.
Ordinary wages increased 3.2% in the last year, at just under the rate of inflation, Statistics New Zealand figures released today showed. The average increase in the last year for those workers who got an increase was 5.4%.
"Although New Zealand has a short term problem with inflation, we have a structural problem of low wages," said Peter Conway.
"If we are to solve the problem of low wages in New Zealand we need wages to rise by more than the rate of inflation, and on a regular basis. This can be achieved if employers share the benefits of economic growth, if minimum wages rise and if productivity improves."
Union campaigns are showing workers that to get a decent increase in their work, they need to bargain collectively in unions, Peter Conway said.
"The CTU does not believe that wage increases are driving inflation compared with petrol prices, housing and other factors," said Peter Conway. "CPI figures for the year to March 2006 released last month included a 23.5% rise in petrol prices and a 5.9% increase in the cost of new houses."