Tomorrow’s scheduled minimum wage increase is vital for the hundreds of thousands of minimum wage earners who are doing it tough through the COVID-19 global pandemic.
E tū Assistant National Secretary Annie Newman says that while life is difficult for minimum wage workers at the best of times, the current economic conditions make things a lot worse.
“Far too often, the poorest and most vulnerable in our society bear the brunt of economic downturns,” Annie says.
“We know that low wage workers spend the largest chunk of their wages in the local economy. Keeping money in the pockets of our lowest paid will be vital for stimulating the economy as we go forward.”
Annie says that the minimum wage will help many of the people in essential industries and services.
“Many minimum wage workers are also on the COVID-19 frontlines, including in security and cleaning. These workers get up every day to make sure our communities are safe and healthy. Yet they are paid as low as they legally can be – it’s an injustice.
“A minimum wage increase tomorrow means it will be easier for these workers to keep food on the table and keep the heaters on through the pandemic. Surely there’s not much more important than protecting our frontline workers.”
Annie dismisses the claims from some groups that the minimum wage increase should be delayed.
“These are the same groups that argue against minimum wage increase in any weather. Their fears are always unfounded – their predicted economic outcomes never come to pass.
“New Zealanders will get through the COVID-19 crisis by sticking together and looking out for each other. Scheduled minimum wage increases are one part of that picture. While the minimum wage will still be short of the Living Wage, the increase is a hell of a lot better than nothing.”
For more information or comment: Annie Newman, 027 204 6340