Meagre Pay Rises Don’t Cut it for Working Poor
“Minuscule pay rises have little impact on the lowest paid workers in New Zealand who are increasingly slipping into poverty,” said Service and Food Workers Union National Secretary John Ryall today.
John Ryall said the 2% increase in wage levels for the year to March seen in the Labour Cost Index statistics released today, translated to 27 cents an hour for those on the minimum wage of $13.50. Even the median increase of three per cent in the private sector gave less than 41 cents an hour to the lowest paid.
“This increase of around $3 for an eight hour day wouldn’t even buy a family sized can of Watties baked beans for our members,” he said.
“There is nothing to celebrate in these meagre pay rises and they simply do not cut it for the thousands of workers who can’t keep their heads above water.
“At the same time as the lowest paid workers struggle to survive, those at the other end are doing better than ever, with both public and private sector bosses pocketing handsome salary increases and the richest 150 New Zealanders getting 20 per cent richer,” he said.
“It’s time for a significant lift in the wages for ordinary hard working New Zealanders. Everyone has a right to earn enough to survive and participate in society.”
John Ryall said the SFWU was in discussions with a wide range of community organisations and church groups about a living wage campaign to address poverty and inequality in New Zealand.
“Increasingly New Zealanders are uniting around a call for a more equitable society, where all workers receive a living wage. Until the very lowest pay rates are increased, the equity gap will grow and with it, poverty in New Zealand,” he said.
“It’s time to unite the community to take a stand for a living wage for all.”