E tū welcomes today’s lift in the minimum wage from $16.50 to $17.70 but says it doesn’t go far enough.
“We want a minimum wage that moves closer to the Living Wage, because anything less is not enough to live on with dignity,” says Annie Newman, E tū’s Director of Campaigns & Convenor of the Living Wage Movement Aotearoa New Zealand.
The Living Wage is currently $20.55.
“We know the minimum wage has moved up, but the Living Wage is what’s needed for people to lead a decent life,” she says.
E tū delegate and security guard, Ken Renata says he’s seen his wages move steadily upwards since he first began working as a guard six years ago, when his wage was just $14.45.
“The government has made a big difference,” he says, with the new rate set to lift his income above his current pay of $17.00 an hour.
But he says for people with families, $17.70 is still too little to live on and security guards with children typically work very long hours.
“You have to work 60 hours or more a week and that takes you away from your family,” says Ken.
Invercargill cleaner and delegate, Alana Clarke earns about $16.80 an hour at each of her five cleaning jobs.
She describes the minimum wage increase as “great”, but she worries it will send prices higher.
“When the wages go up, everyone else does too and I worry there will still be people who can’t make ends meet,” says Alana.
Alana works about 60 hours a week, “but for that I get a standard of living I’m comfortable with. I can pay my bills. But if I cut back, life would be really hard.”
She says she dreams about earning the Living Wage: “That would be awesome,” she says.
For further information, contact:
Annie Newman E tū Director of Campaigns ph. 027 204 6340
We can put interested reporters in touch with Alana and Ken on request: ph 022 269 1170.