27 November 2009
Green MPs today joined union actions across the country against the wage freeze in the public sector.
“It is shameful that many of our hardest workers are among the worst paid, some of them only getting $12.50 an hour,” said Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Keith Locke.
‘Lift The Freeze’
lunchtime rallies were held all over New Zealand, involving thousands of lowly paid
hospital orderlies, cleaners, kitchen staff and school support workers.
“Once we prided ourselves in being an egalitarian society,” said Mr Locke.
“Now we have one of the fastest growing gaps between the rich and poor.
“The Ministers behind the wage freeze, which is keeping many workers below $14 an hour, are themselves earning over $100 an hour.
“We are becoming world leaders in inequality, not equality. How can people have an equal chance in life when they are stuck earning around $13 dollars an hour – a figure mentioned by representatives of school support staff at the rallies today.
“While the Government talks of a desire to lift incomes to Australian levels individual ministers are signaling to their department heads to keep wages down.”
Mr Locke said the Green Party is part of the citizens’ initiated referendum campaign to lift the minimum wage to $15 an hour. It also favours
an automatic annual adjustment to the minimum wage, ensuring it equates to no less than 66% of the average wage.
“The Green Party is committed to all Kiwi workers getting a fair go, and that means first and foremost an income they can live on,” said Mr Locke.