The Minister of Labour, Kate Wilkinson, will shortly announce whether the minimum wage will increase from 1 April this year. I’m hoping the increase will be more than last year’s miserly 25 cents an hour for our lowest paid workers.
The debate began this morning with Helen Kelly vs Phil O’Reilly on Business Breakfast.
Unions are arguing for more, but agree that $15 an hour is a good first step. They are also campaigning on the $15 minimum – at Skycity Casino, for example, unions have been taking action over one of their claims – a $15 an hour minimum for any worker employed at Sky – and given that Sky City employs workers doing the same jobs in Australia for at least the Australian minimum wage, which was increased to A$15 a hour last year, I think this is a reasonable ask.
Business NZ says the minimum wage should at least stay as it is : at $12.75 an hour.
There’s a good case for the minimum wage to be increased substantially, given big increases in food and living costs over the past year, along with GST and petrol price hikes. It’s not just about helping struggling families, but also helping the economy, as low-income households are more likely to spend any additional income.
Labour supports a $15 minimum wage and Trevor Mallard has a members’ bill in the ballot that would implement this from 1 April this year.
Some of you will say there should be no increase – and perhaps a decrease – and some of you believe that fair wages for low income families are a critical part of New Zealand’s economic recovery to have their say as well. You know where I stand on this issue, but here’s your chance to have your say.
Let me know.