Minimum wage bill important stepPublish By NZweek News Staff Updated 04/04/2012 10:57 pm in NZ News / no comments
Media Release: FIRST Union
Wednesday 4 April, 2012
A union representing low paid workers says that a members’ bill lifting the minimum wage to $15 an hour is in stark contrast to the current government’s approach to the minimum wage.
Labour MP Andrew Little has a members’ bill in the ballot to lift the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Robert Reid, General Secretary of FIRST Union, said that unions have been pushing for a $15 minimum wage and at the last election the Labour, Greens, Mana, Maori and NZ First parties signed up to an immediate minimum wage lift of at least this amount.
This was in stark contrast to the government’s adult minimum wage rise this week of just 50 cents to $13.50, he said.
“$13.50 may be the new minimum wage but it is not a decent wage.”
“It is completely impossible for a family to live on two full time minimum wage incomes, let alone if one parent is out of the paid workforce looking after children.”
“An immediate rise to $15 an hour is needed, then indexing the minimum wage to two thirds of the average wage, as recommended in 1973 from the Royal Commission into Social Security.”
Robert Reid said that in the retail sector, workplaces with strong union presence had much better wages that those stores without union presence.
Countdown checkout operators will receive $15.48 per hour from May 28, Robert Reid said, in contrast to only recently unionised shops like the highly profitable Briscoes, where many workers are only paid around the minimum wage of $13.50.
“But for the many workers currently without access to unions, a floor needs to be set that is a liveable wage.”
“Labour’s bill deserves the support of Parliament to make this happen,” Robert Reid said.