Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Great start from new government for low paid workers

Great start from new government for low paid workers

The planned increases to the Minimum Wage to $20 are a major step forward for workers, equality and the economy overall according to Unite Union, which represents thousands of low paid workers in food and hospitality workplaces.

As minimum adult wage moves towards the Living Wage then workers will simply be able to make ends meet after a weeks work, according to Unite National Secretary Gerard Hehir.

“It will make a huge difference to hundreds of thousands who most desperately need help. Over four years it is a 6.75% average increase per year. That is not excessive when we currently have full-time workers relying on welfare support, state subsidies and charity - and still struggling. Employers need to pay their workers enough to live - it really is that simple”

There are almost 700,000 workers earning less than the Living Wage (currently $20.20) - over a third of all employees (see the CTU's Shrinking portions to low and middleincome earners: Inequality in Wages & SelfEmployment 19982015).

"Winston Peter’s was spot on when he said many who felt capitalism was working against them were “not wrong”. The starkest measure is the Labour share of GDP in New Zealand which has fallen from nearly 59% in 1980 to only 50% in 2015 - 5% below the OECD average. Where has it gone? Corporate profits as a share of GDP have gone from 10% in 1980 to almost 25% in 2015. We shouldn’t be afraid of asking businesses to start reversing that trend - it is well overdue and only fair."

The scaremongering around loss of jobs is just that according to Unite: “When Unite successfully campaigned to abolish youth rates in 2008 there were dire predictions of mass youth joblessness. Youth employment actually increased in the years that followed. Recent research has consistently shown that hysterical claims of minimum wage increases causing rampant inflation and unemployment are simply wrong" (see Why Does the Minimum Wage Have No Discernible Effect on Employment? by John Schmitt ).

"Everyone will benefit from the increases. Those wages will be overwhelmingly spent in local communities - benefitting local businesses. That will particularly help regional economies. Low paid workers won’t be jetting off overseas or importing expensive cars and luxury goods - they will be looking after their families, paying down debt and maybe even saving some money. The biggest barrier to getting into kiwisaver is actually not being able to afford the weekly contributions”.

"Employers who don’t think their workers are worth $20 an hour should look at their business model . New Zealand has a productivity problem. Rather than relying on low wages and low skills they should be looking to make their employees more productive. Investing in skills, training and new technology is the answer - not paying your workers the least the law allows you and complaining that it is too much."

"Taxpayers will be better off as well. The huge rental and income subsidies to low paid workers will actually reduce. This exposes who these government payments are really subsidising - low wage employers rather than their low paid employees. It is absurd that the loudest voices against minimum wage increases are also often the loudest in demanding tax cuts and complaining about government subsidies.”

“On behalf of our members and all low paid workers in New Zealand Unite congratulates the NZ First, Labour and the Greens for making a real difference. There is alot more to do - but it is a great start”.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Let It Go: MP Pay To Be Frozen

The Government is freezing MP salaries and allowances for a year while developing a fairer formula for future pay increases.

The Remuneration Authority is due to make a decision on MP pay shortly.

“Today Cabinet agreed to freeze MP Pay till July 2019, and to reassess the funding formula used by the Authority to ensure it is fair and in keeping with this Government’s expectations and values,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. More>>

 

Cop Shop Top-Up: 1800 New Police Through NZ

Police Commissioner Mike Bush has today confirmed further details around the allocation of the 1800 additional officers, following a $298.8 million increase for Police in Budget 2018... “These 1800 officers, alongside 485 support staff, will really enhance our work to keep people safe, and ensure they feel safe,” says Mr Bush. More>>

ALSO:

Human Right Commissions: Concern On Aged Care And Consent

A new report published by the Human Rights Commission raises concerns about the legal and human rights safeguards for an estimated 5000 elderly New Zealanders in secure dementia units and psychogeriatric facilities. More>>

ALSO:

Justice Reform: Andrew Little Interviewed By Corin Dann

“We’ve had thirty years of the auction of more penalties, more crime, more people in prison but it‘s not working, it’s not making us safe.” More>>

ALSO:

Greens AGM: Leadership Stands Firm On Waka Jumping Bill

The Green Party leadership have dug in their heels and will not be reversing any of the decisions they have made in government. Former MPs Jeanette Fitzsimons and Sue Bradford had hoped the caucus might be persuaded this weekend to pull its support from the waka jumping bill. More>>

ALSO:

TOP Still Going, Actually: New Leader For Opportunities Party

New leader Geoff Simmons' aim as the leader of TOP is to take the party into Parliament at the next election where it can advocate and implement progressive reform in areas including fair taxation, cannabis legalisation, affordable housing, and environmental protection. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Another Reason To Loathe HR Departments (And On The Teachers Strike)

This morning’s news item about Police emergency call centre staff turning up for work while they’re sick – because they’re afraid their sick leave statistics will be used against them, and their jobs put in jeopardy – is not an isolated case... More>>

MPs' Computers To Be Searched: Inquiry Into Leak On Simon Bridges' Expenses

An inquiry has been launched to find out who leaked the National Party's expenses to the media... Parliament's speaker, Trevor Mallard, said a Queen's Counsel would lead the inquiry with the help of an employment lawyer and also someone with forensic IT skills. More>>

ALSO:

Teachers Strike: Nationwide Rallies And Marches

Teachers and principals voted for a full day strike to be held on 15 August to send a strong message to the Government that the current collective agreement offers from the Ministry of Education would not fix the crisis in teaching. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages