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Commitment to lifting wages good for New Zealand

Media Release: Service and Food Workers Union Ngā Ringa Tota

2 August 2014

Commitment to lifting wages good for New Zealand –SFWU

The Service and Food Workers Union has applauded the Green Party workers’ policy announced today.

“The commitment to consistent rises of $1 in the minimum wage each year is much needed by the growing number of New Zealanders joining the ranks of the working poor,” said SFWU industry leader Alastair Duncan.

“The commitment to strong minimum wage increases throughout the next parliamentary term is desperately needed by low-income workers and their families who can no longer keep their heads above water with rising costs and stagnant wages. It will also allow employers to plan for the increases. It is good for New Zealand.”

Alastair Duncan said thousands of very low-paid SFWU members employed by contractors would also benefit from the strong commitment to extend the Living Wage to the contracted workforce in the core public sector.

The SFWU represents 22,000 workers who work in aged and disability care, as cleaners and security guards and in food processing and other parts of the service sector.

“Our members are simply not able to get by on very low wages and pitiful increases make little difference,” said Alastair Duncan.

Alastair Duncan said the SFWU also welcomed the requirement on employers to pay redundancy and the plan to outlaw zero hours contracts.

“Many of our members have no entitlement to redundancy and no ability to save,” he said. “An increasing number are at the mercy of zero hours contracts, with no security and no guaranteed income. This is an impossible situation.”

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