CTU MEDIA RELEASE
1 April 2008
Social wage improvements make difference for working families
“There is clearly more to be done to lift New Zealanders living standards, but minimum wage rises coming into effect today coupled with improvements to the social wage in areas like health, education and housing, show we are going about it in the right way,” Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly said.
Today the minimum wage will increase to $12 an hour, KiwiSaver employer credits come into effect, and cost of living increases to benefits take effect. Company benefits such as tax cuts and research and development tax credits also come into effect.
“9 years through the eyes of workers has seen steady improvements to the social wage. Working people have seen cheaper doctors visits and prescriptions, state housing income related rentals, 20 hours free early childhood education, Working for Families, Kiwi Saver, 4 weeks annual leave, 14 weeks paid parental leave and time and a half for statutory holiday work.”
“Add this to the 71 per cent increase in the minimum wage since 1999, and the removal of youth rates for 16 and 17 year old workers after 200 hours or 3 months, whichever is sooner.”
“The CTU wants to see more progress, with better pay for low waged workers and stronger public services, not cuts to them. We want to build better and stronger work rights, through improvements in areas like paid parental leave, protections for casual workers and tackling excessive hours and low pay.”
"As National begins to announces policy, the distinctions between political parties are becoming clear. Instead of saying how they would improve wages and public services for working people, they have announced cuts to workers rights, including entrenching a 90 days No-Rights period, and cuts to support staff in pubic services which will only stretch the front-line workers.”