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Poverty pay makes vulnerable children and families

MEDIA RELEASE: SERVICE AND FOOD WORKERS UNION NGA RINGA TOTA

28 February 2012

Poverty pay makes vulnerable children and families

“Hundreds of thousands of New Zealand children will be vulnerable as long as the lowest paid workers do not earn a living wage,” said Service and Food Workers Union Ngā Ringa Tota National Secretary John Ryall today.

The SFWU represents 23,000 workers who care, cook and clean for New Zealanders. Many earn little more than the minimum wage. A high proportion of SFWU members are part-time female workers, significant numbers of whom are young workers and Māori and Pacific workers.

“It seems obvious that living in a family with insufficient income to survive on puts children in a vulnerable position,” said John Ryall. “But that is the current situation for many in New Zealand.”

John Ryall said if the Government is serious about addressing poverty and making sure all New Zealand children live in an environment where they “thrive, belong and achieve”, the wages of the lowest paid working families in this country must be significantly raised.

“All workers must be paid a living wage based on independent evidence of the earnings required to provide for their basic needs for survival and to enable their participation as active citizens in society,” he said.

John Ryall said until New Zealand developed a framework to deliver a genuine living wage many working families would continue to struggle to afford even the basic necessities.”

These are the highlights of the SFWU submission on the Government’s Green Paper on Vulnerable Children. Submissions close today (February 28).

ENDS

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