New Zealand urged to increase minimum wage for essential workers
New Zealand’s Council of Trade Unions (CTU) is urging the government to reward frontline and essential workers by increasing the minimum wage from NZ$20 (US$14) to NZ$22.75 (US$15.92) an hour.
“Our essential workers are heroes who worked so hard to get us through the pandemic, and far too many of them did it on a wage that they can’t sustain a family on,” said CTU president Richard Wagstaff, according to Stuff news.
An increase in the minimum wage would be well-deserved for essential workers who have seen more of their income lost to housing and other rising costs, Wagstaff added.
CTU’s call to increase the minimum wage to NZ$22.75 is in line with the current living wage, currently paid out by 240 employers in the country.
Previously, the living wage was only paid to workers employed in the core public service, but excluded contractors, who typically work as security guards, caterers and cleaners for the public service.
The living wage was introduced in 2013 as a means to tackle growing poverty and inequality.