The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) strongly backs the increase to the minimum wage from Monday 1 April by $1.20 to $17.70 per hour.
According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), there are about 71,500 working Kiwis currently paid the minimum wage in New Zealand and there are over 209,000 working people who earn less than $17.70 who will receive a pay rise from 1 April.
“Substantial increases to the minimum wage are long overdue. This improvement is testament to the Governments commitment to lift the wages of the lowest paid Kiwis and deserves recognition,” CTU President, Richard Wagstaff said.
“Everyone should be paid a wage that they can raise a family on, that they can prosper on. However the reality In New Zealand is that a significant number of working people are living in poverty. Increasing the minimum wage is a good thing – but it is only one measure in a necessary suite of actions to make meaningful change in the lives of working people.”
“There is of course much more that needs to be done to lift employment conditions. The minimum wage is vital in preventing wages being forced down in a race to the bottom. But increasing the minimum wage doesn’t help hundreds of thousands of low and middle income experienced and skilled working people whose wages are standing still. Their skills and experience are not fully recognised in their pay because they lack the support of collective bargaining.”
“We strongly encourage and support the introduction of Fair Pay Agreements (FPAs) as an effective way to improve the lives of many, and move working people beyond the minimum wage.”
“FPAs will ensure workers benefit from pay rates suited to the sector in which they work. The agreements will cover terms and conditions of employment and support higher levels of training. We encourage the government to deliver on the passing of legislation to introduce FPAs as soon as possible,” Wagstaff said.