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Budget Pays Social Cost of Low-Wage 90s Policies

Budget Pays the Social Cost of Low-Wage Policies of the 1990s

The Budget assistance to low-paid workers with families highlights the continuing social effects of the low-wage policies of the 1990s, Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson said today.

“What working families really want is a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work,” he said.

The CTU had for several years been pressing the Government to provide assistance to low-income families, Ross Wilson said, and the Budget recognised the need and the hardships they faced.

“However, it is disappointing that most of this new spending is in 2006 and 2007, rather than up front in the first year.”

Other policies such as increasing the minimum wage, promoting more widespread collective bargaining, delivering pay equity and boosting productivity were needed to increase wages for low-income workers, he said.

Ross Wilson said that state sector workers would also be carefully studying the Budget for implications on state sector pay and conditions.

Other initiatives which the CTU welcomed in the Budget included support for early childhood education, workplace learning representatives, health spending and economic development.

Ross Wilson said that this Budget established a very clear contrast between this Government and a National-led government.

“Workers have not forgotten that it was National that slashed benefits and then gave tax cuts to those on high incomes. This ran against the Kiwi values of fairness and support for those most in need.

“This Budget will be welcomed by ordinary New Zealanders.”

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