CTU MEDIA RELEASE
09 November 2006
Time To End Discrimination Against Young Workers CTU tells Select Committee
"The youth minimum wage has been lifted by 95% since 1999, and this has not had any significant impact on either employment or educational enrolment. The arguments put up by business that young workers will suffer if youth rates are abolished are starting to wear thin," CTU president Ross Wilson told a select committee this morning.
"Various business lobby groups have used the publicity generated by Sue Bradford's youth rates bill to paint a picture of dreary employment prospects for young workers should it pass."
"Business' track record doesn't help them however," said Ross Wilson. "Dire predictions on the effects of changes in labour law, the re-nationalisation of ACC, paid parental leave and regular increases in the minimum wage have all proved wrong. Time after time the business lobby has proved themselves wrong on labour reforms, and we would be happy to add youth rates to that list."
"The good news is that a number of employers like BP Oil, Postie Plus and Restaurant Brands have been convinced that it is unfair to pay young workers on a lower rate purely because of their age, and 85 per cent of Wellington businesses in a poll earlier in the year said that the elimination of the youth wage will have no significant effect on their business."
"Young workers don't get to stack shelves 20 per cent slower than their older workmates, they don't get to flip burgers 20 per cent slower, yet our minimum wage legislation allows for them to be paid at this lower rate."
"As young workers enter another summer where they will face discrimination in the workplace, purely because of their age, the time has come to abolish youth rates," Ross Wilson said.