Labour's Low Pay Let Down
"A low pay let down" is how the National Distribution Union is describing Michael Cullen's announcement that Labour will only commit to raise minimum wages in line with CPI or average increases.
"It's going to be over to smaller parties, led by the Greens and Maori Party, to force Labour's hand on this if they have a chance to negotiate policy agreements post-election," says National Distribution Union National Secretary Laila Harré.
"Fortunately for low paid workers a series of smaller parties including the Alliance, Greens and NZ First have given minimum wage increases a high priority in post-election negotiations. We hope they'll get a chance to do so again."
Laila Harré says Michael Cullen's use of the financial crisis to maintain the current gap between low and higher wage earners is unjustified.
"It's a shame that all the evidence pointing towards the productivity and employment benefits of higher minimum wages is still being ignored by Michael Cullen. He's always been reluctant on this. Since 1999 it's been party voters for smaller parties that have given the lowest paid the parliamentary back-up needed."