The wage gap with Australia wasn't helped by yesterday's increase of the Australian minimum wage to nearly $20 in New Zealand terms, a union for many low paid workers said today.
Yesterday Fair Work Australia raised the Australian minimum wage to $AU15.96 an hour based on a 38-hour week, around $20 New Zealand with currency conversion.
"Australia has higher wages not only because their firms invest more in their plant and machinery, but they have maintained a national structure for making sure workers' wages keep up with the cost of living," FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid said.
"Their minimum wage is just the floor for wages in Australia. Workers across different occupations have higher wages based on the national awards covering their work."
"These have produced better outcomes for workers, where there are clear industry standards on wages and conditions."
"On top of this Australian workers and their unions are able to negotiate higher wages still through enterprise agreements."
"Last month's announcement from our government that they want to cut even further into what employment provisions we have to support collective bargaining shows they no longer care about catching up with Australian wages."
"A government that was genuinely interested in closing the Australian wage gap simply wouldn't put even more barriers in the way of workers accessing unions to bargain collectively with their workmates, as National wants to do."
"Sadly, our government is not interested in low paid workers, and effects of low pay on communities. It is then up to unions and the community to campaign to lift low wages, and we will join with others as part of the recently launched Living Wage Aotearoa to do just that," Robert Reid said.
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