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Minimum wage increase too low

Media release: FIRST Union
Tuesday April 1, 2014

Minimum wage increase too low

Low income families struggling with high costs have been let down by today’s minimum wage increase, FIRST Union says.

Speaking from Christchurch today in the final week of a round of annual member meetings, FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid said that the 50 cent minimum wage increase coming into force today would do little to help low income families.

“The benefits from any economic recovery need to be better shared. It is no good having improving indicators in some areas of our economy but wealth continuing to be concentrated among an elite while hundreds of thousands of families are still living in poverty,” he said.

“Many families do not feel they are getting ahead, let alone the many households where one or more of their workers have lost jobs in recent times.”

“The government has an opportunity each year with the minimum wage review to make a difference for our poorest working households, but this opportunity has been lost, with an increase of just $2.25 since 2008.”

“Union collective bargaining has a critical role to play in lifting incomes.”

“But for the many workers currently without access to unions, a floor needs to be set that is higher than $14.25, which is nowhere near enough to live on,” Robert Reid said.

Ends.

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