Monday, December 18, 2006

Crumbs from Rich Men's Tables

I've sat in employment agreement negotiations where it's been a huge victory to get an increase in the statutory minimum bereavement leave of three days when a workers child dies. When it comes to employment you have to fight for every crumb, and it's really easy to underestimate how much of a difference those crumbs can make.

$11.25 an hour, the new minimum wage from 1 April next year, is not a lot of money. But it can buy some more meat, the use of heater, more clothes, or maybe even a trip to the movies every so often. For the minimum wage workers who are working two jobs (or working and studying) maybe the increase will enable them to work a few less hours each week.

That 120,000 workers will get pay increase due to this minimum wage order, shows just how disgusting low New Zealand Emploeyrs pay. Most of those workers will be women, as women's work is the least valued in this society.

Which is the other side to minimum wage increases. Every wage increase creates more minimum wage workers. Cleaning and caregiving are underpaid (women's) industries where many workplaces would be within the new minimum pay-rate. Employers will try and use these minimum wage increases as an opportunity to devalue the skill of (one group of employers has already publicly stated their intention to do so). The only way we can stop this is by organising and bargaining collectively.. The minimum wage order makes this task more urgent, not less.


  1. Anonymous10:56 pm

    $11.25, that means I'll get a pay rise! woohoo. it still doesn't sound like much, but at the end of the week, it makes a difference.

  2. Anonymous6:29 pm

    What are your views on the fact that of this $1 an hour increase, somewhere between $0.50 and $0.65 goes straight to the govt. coffers, via PAYE & reduction in WFF payments?

  3. Anonymous9:52 pm

    Government AND the poor employee get money.
    its a double whammy for socialism!

    It is interesting however that we always talk in terms of pre tax income as oppopsed to after tax.

    It implies who's decision is more important.

  4. Anonymous1:25 pm

    Talking in pre-tax terms is deliberate. Otherwise, people would be much more cogniscent of how much the government is taking from them.

    Can't have that happening!

  5. ..
    absurd thought -
    God of the Universe thinks
    communism is SUPER

    even though it never works
    because we are not robots

    absurd thought -
    God of the Universe feels
    communism is fair

    fools can't or won't think it through
    idiots just keep scheming