Media release: FIRST Union
Wednesday 23 May 2012
Living wage campaign will capture public mind
A union for low paid workers in retail, logistics and other sectors says a new campaign launched today in support of a living wage will capture the mind of the public, who are becoming more aware of growing inequality in New Zealand.
The Living Wage campaign is being launched in Auckland today. Initiated by the Service & Food Workers Union Nga Ringa Tota, it brings together unions, faith and community groups to campaign to end poverty wages.
“Poverty exits in New Zealand only because we continue to tolerate it,” FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid said.
“$13.50 may be the new minimum wage but it is completely impossible for a family to live on two full time minimum wage incomes, let alone if one parent is out of the paid workforce looking after children.”
“Retail workers in our union regularly report that they want more hours, because the hours they currently have do not provide enough income to live on.”
“The government has made its views on ending poverty clear. It does not care about it. They have delivered an increase in GST and very small minimum wage rises for poor people. Meanwhile our nation’s richest were given massive tax hand outs which the rest of us are funding through government borrowing.”
“It is time then for the community to step up and take this issue into their own hands, to create a movement to end poverty wages.”
Robert Reid said that FIRST Union would focus on the Living Wage campaign in its programme for Decent Work = Decent Life. As well as poverty wages this programme focusses on unemployment, secure work and safe work.
“FIRST Union says well done to the Service & Food Workers Union for initiating Living Wage Aotearoa. We are looking forward to joining the campaign,” Robert Reid said.