The minimum wage should be the living wage

Unite Union National Secretary John Crocker has welcomed the decision to raise the minimum wage by $1.20 an hour, but says there is no longer an excuse not to return the minimum wage identical to the living wage.

“Last year’s Nobel Prize in Economics was won by economists who proved that a high minimum wage does not lead to job losses or inflation.”

“This has also been true in New Zealand. The times when the minimum wage has risen fastest have been times when unemployment has fallen. Commentators need to stop suggesting that this will cost jobs – this has been empirically refuted and it seems insane”.

“The Covid crisis has also proven who essential workers are – and they are often still paid below living wage. MIQ workers who protected us all for two years face a pay cut when government contracts expire , it is not fair.

“This year Unite will campaign for MIQ workers and then for a fair pay deal for all hospitality workers that starts everyone on living wage.”

“This process has already begun, with SkyCity being targeted for a living wage severance rate for all of its staff as well as improved skill and service margins.

“It would make life easier if the government led this process rather than forcing workers into unnecessary strikes where they would lose money to get what should be their right. $1.20 an hour is fine , it’s 6%. But inflation too, this increase was absolutely necessary.” said John Crocker.

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Michael A. Bynum