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CTU Supports $15 Minimum Wage

The CTU continues to support a minimum wage set at two-thirds of the average wage.

'Lifting the minimum wage to $15 would be a good start towards that objective,' Helen Kelly, CTU President, said today.

'While unions will be disappointed that Labour will not fully commit to a target of $15 at this stage, they know that the Labour-led Government, with initiatives from the Green Party and the support of a number of other parties, has made huge progress on the minimum wage in recent years,' Helen Kelly said.

In 1999 the minimum wage was $7 an hour for those aged 20 years or more and for an 18 year old it was $4.20. Today that figure is $12. The adult minimum wage has been lifted by 71% since 1999. And the policy announced today means that the minimum wage will rise again in 2009.

This is in stark contrast to the 1990s under a National-led Government when the minimum wage was frozen for several years and only went up by 14% in 9 years. National's employment relations policy for this election is also likely to drive wages down.

Unions recognise that these are difficult economic times but we need wages to rise if we are to catch up with Australia and also to reflect the increases in the cost of living that workers have been facing.

This current financial crisis is not the fault of ordinary workers.

'Unions will continue to campaign for rises in the minimum wage and we hope that the $15 target can still be met by 2011,' said Helen Kelly.

The CTU released a wages policy recently based on: increasing the minimum wage to two-thirds of the average wage, extending collective bargaining through industry and multi-employer bargaining, lifting investment in skills and technology and improving workplace practices to boost productivity, building union capacity to organise low paid workers, implementing responsible contractor policies in the state sector and an ongoing programme to close the gender pay gap.


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