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March 11, 2013 | by  | in News |
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Common Cents

Govt’s giving you 25 of them

Employers are set to pay you even more than they think you’re worth, with the Government announcing the minimum wage is set to rise by 25c to $13.75 in April.
The training and new entrants’ minimum wage—common among students—will also increase from $10.80 to $11.80, 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.

The youth wage was introduced last year in order to encourage businesses to employ young people, thereby lowering the youth
unemployment rate—22.8 per cent in the last quarter of 2012. Full time workers on a minimum wage will have $10 more a week as a
result of the wage increase.

“Setting these wage rates represents a careful balance between protecting low-paid workers and ensuring jobs are not lost as the economic recovery gains pace,” said Minister of Labour Simon Bridges.
The raise has left students working minimum wage jobs wanting more. “It’s an offence. A 25c increase is insulting.” one such student told Salient. While VUWSA has no position on the rise, President Rory McCourt expressed concern about the inadequate support recieved by many students through allowances and the low-wage labour market.
“Low wages mean longer hours, numerous jobs and less time to study”, McCourt said.

Labour MP Darien Fenton described the 25c increase as a “slap in the face”. “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. The minimum wage announcement comes as the nationwide Living Wage campaign increases in exposure. The campaign calls upon the Government, employers, and wider society to implement a living wage as a poverty reduction tool.
“A living wage is the income necessary to provide workers and their families with the basic necessities of life. A living wage will enable workers to live with dignity and to participate as active citizens in society”, a statement on the campaign website reads.

In 2012, the VUWSA Executive made a decision to support the Living Wage campaign in accordance with Goal 2 of the VUWSA Constitution, which is to advocate for adequate financial support, income and welfare for students in order to remove barriers to education. “For students, it’s about major organisations like the Wellington City Council and victoria University, which employ thousands of students between them, taking the lead and introducing this wage over time.

Last year the University made a $14.5 million surplus,” McCourt told Salient. Victoria has a Hardship Fund for students experiencing financial hardship. Students can apply for an appointment with a Finance Adviser through the Victoria website.


Alex Lewin

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