8 February 2012
Minimum Wage increase falls short
In response to the government’s announcement of a .50c increase to the minimum wage, CTU Secretary, Peter Conway said that while we welcome an increase, it falls well short of the $15 an hour minimum wage that has widespread public support, and increasing the minimum wage by a mere 50c will not significantly address growing concerns of poverty or inequality.
Peter Conway said “this minimal increase to the minimum wage will not help low income households who were hit hard by the increase in GST, and not compensated adequately by tax cuts that favoured those on higher incomes. The government has missed a chance to help rebalance this equation and put more money in the pockets of low income families.”
“Measures of living standards show that many New Zealanders experience hardship on a daily basis and point to the widening gap between rich and poor. This small increase to the minimum wage will not help these groups of New Zealanders in any meaningful way.”
“The government has signalled a return to youth rates through its ‘starting out wage,’ meaning many more young people aged 16 - 19 will be on a lower minimum wage likely to be $10.80 an hour - 80% of the minimum wage.”
Peter Conway said that lifting wages overall in New Zealand is vitally important – the minimum wage is one tool, but so is improved innovation and productivity provided the benefits are shared, and extended availability of collective bargaining through industry standards.