Workers Celebrate Minimum Wage Increase
About a quarter of a million Kiwi workers will get a much-needed pay rise today, as the Government’s scheduled minimum wage increase comes into effect.
The minimum wage has gone up from $17.70 to $18.90 an hour, giving our lowest paid and often most vulnerable workers a little extra in their pocket through the COVID-19 crisis.
E tū member and cleaner at Otahuhu Police Station, Rose Kavapalu, is pleased with the Government’s decision to make the increase as planned.
“Thank you, Jacinda, and all of the Government for this increase that’s needed now more than ever,” Rose says.
“I am currently working 13 hours a day, Monday to Friday, to put food on the table for my family and pay the bills. This will help our family.”
Rose says that her essential worker status demonstrates the importance of her job.
“Being an essential services worker at the police station, all of a sudden people realise how important your job is.
“I’d rather not be at work as I have many family commitments, but the police officers really need us to keep the place clean and free from COVID-19. So, I am happy to do the work, but honestly, I deserve more than the bare minimum.”
E tū member and security guard at an Auckland train station, Lavinia Kafoa, agrees with Rose that more is needed.
“We need more money because of the risky work that we do. We also need proper PPE, but we’re still waiting for that. The minimum wage increase is better than nothing, but we should be doing more for our frontline health and service workers,” Lavinia says.
E tū Assistant National Secretary Annie Newman says that the minimum wage increase is more important now than ever.
“Low paid and vulnerable workers always bear the brunt of economic downturns like the one we are facing now,” Annie says.
“While it’s not much, the minimum wage increase will make a huge difference for hundreds of thousands of workers whose jobs and livelihoods are rapidly changing.”