Kate Wilkinson announced this afternoon that the minimum wage would increase by 50 cents in New Zealand on April 1st 2012, to a new rate of $13.50. Anger is already brewing in many worksites of low paid workers, who will be voting for a campaign to deliver much more.
"Anger amongst the near half a million workers on less than $15ph in New Zealand will not be bought off with the 50 cent increase in the minimum wage today. Our workers in cinemas and fastfoods are voting to campaign for a living wage of $15ph this year. The government increase of 3.8% is a tacit admission that hundreds of thousands of workers in NZ just dont earn enough to live on adequately. Especially when workers in low paid jobs have no security of hours, and have their rosters changed from week to week. Casualisation and underemployment are the hidden scourges of the lowest paid workers in this society, and this problem will not be solved with half a dollar. "
-Joe Carolan, Campaign for a Living Wage organiser, Unite Union.
The real solution is for low paid workers to join the union and plan strike action, protests and stoppages in their workplaces. We don't need to wait for another year or election for Governments or politicians to throw us crumbs from the Master's table. Workers are the ones who create all of society's wealth- we can improve our lives if we organise and take action where we are strongest- time to bring the fights to the sites.