Minimum wage rise 'insult': unions

Unions and the Labour Party have slammed the government's 25 cent hike in the minimum wage as miserable.

The announcement, made by Labour Minister Simon Bridges on Tuesday, will see the adult minimum wage rise to $13.75 an hour from April 1.

The training and new entrants' minimum wages, which are set at 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage, will also increase, from $10.80 to $11 an hour.

Labour MP Darien Fenton says the "paltry" rise is a "slap in the face" for low-paid workers.

"Simon Bridges and John Key must be joking if they think an extra $10 a week is a fair pay rise for thousands of struggling workers and their families. How would they like to try to live on $550 a week before tax?" she said.

Labour has a policy to lift the minimum wage to $15 an hour as soon as it takes office, and is also supporting a push for a living wage of $18.40 an hour.

Service and Food Workers Union national secretary John Ryall says it's unfair the prime minister pocketed an extra $150 a week in a MPs' pay rise announced in December, while the country's lowest paid workers will get a maximum of $10 extra a week.

"The 25 cents increase in the minimum hourly wage is an insult to hard-working New Zealanders and a disgrace," he said.

"Ten dollars a week won't even buy the most basic household items, let alone keep up with skyrocketing rentals, power, transport and other household bills."

Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Bridges welcomed a select committee report which made minor changes to the Minimum Wage (Starting-out Wage) Amendment Bill, which will establish a "starting out" wage of $11 an hour, or 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage, when it takes effect on May 1.

The lower wage would apply to 16 and 17-year-olds for their first six months in a job, 18 and 19-year-olds entering the workforce after more than six months on a benefit, and 16 to 19-year-olds in certain training.

QUOTES

 
Recent Quotes
Symbol Price Change % Chg 
Your most recently viewed tickers will automatically show up here if you type a ticker in the "Enter symbol/company" at the bottom of this module.
You need to enable your browser cookies to view your most recent quotes.
 
Sign-in to view quotes in your portfolios.