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Uncaring Government attacks the lowest paid again

14 November 2012

Uncaring Government attacks the lowest paid again

“The National Government’s decision to consider submissions on the minimum wage every four years instead of annually and change the way the review is done is a blatant attack on low-paid workers,” said Service and Food Workers Union Ngā Ringa Tota National Secretary John Ryall today.

“This is another move by an uncaring Government on top of the 90-day trial periods, the changes to the Employment Relations Act, the removal of protections for vulnerable workers and the youth minimum wage, to reduce wage rates in New Zealand even further.”

The Service Workers Union represents nearly 23,000 workers who cook, clean and care for New Zealanders. Many are on close to the current minimum wage and struggle to put food on the table and have a decent life.

John Ryall said the Government’s decision was based on failed thinking that reducing wage rates and security of employment for workers is the only way of creating jobs.

“A cleaner in Sydney’s CBD gets nearly double what a cleaner gets in the Wellington CBD. Catching up with Australia will never happen until we significantly lift the minimum wage,” he said.

John Ryall said that taking all the elements of fairness out of the minimum wage review and only allowing submissions every four years was a signal that the Government thinks that the minimum wage is too high and needs to be either lowered or frozen.

“The minimum wage is not enough to live on,” said John Ryall. “The demand is already being made for a living wage and it is gaining support, not only amongst workers and their families, and also communities, churches and organisations that care about growing poverty and inequality in New Zealand. It will keep growing no matter what the Government does to push wage rates downwards.”


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