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Labour MPs join rallies to end pay freeze

27 November 2009
Media Statement

Labour MPs join rallies to end pay freeze

Twenty five Labour MPs including leader Phil Goff, and Labour supporters, are joining the thousands of workers rallying around New Zealand today to end a wage freeze in the public service.

"The Government needs to listen to the 2700 hospital service workers, the 3000 publicly funded disability support carers, the thousands of school support staff and hospital administration workers who are taking industrial action in 27 centres from Kaitaia to Invercargill today," Phil Goff said.

"After months of pay negotiations these workers are being offered zero pay increases – which means a pay cut at a time when everything else is going up.

"Things are getting worse for low paid workers – and not just those working in the public service.

“The cost of living – the price of groceries, power bills, petrol, rent – continues to rise while wages and work hours go down, workers face ACC levy hikes and cuts to entitlements, and the Government wants to scale back personal grievance rights and make it impossible to have a meal break under the law.

"These workers do important work in often demanding and challenging situations. It is time the Government stopped sitting on the sidelines while the biggest weight of the recession falls on the less well off and their families.

“This wage freeze isn’t fair. The Government is silent when it comes to the salaries of chief executives whose earnings can be in the millions of dollars. Where is the call for such people with huge salary packages to share the pain by taking pay cuts?

Labour's Associate labour spokesperson Darien Fenton said the Government needs to make dealing with low pay in the public sector a priority to ensure that New Zealand’s lowest paid workers and their families do not suffer needlessly.

ENDS

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