NDP demands not words but action to raise low minimum wage and reduce gender wage gap

The NDP Caucus says government’s April 1 minimum wage increase of 15 cents an hour does nothing to lift full time minimum wage earners above the poverty line.

Leader Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre) says BC, Alberta, and Ontario have all committed to a minimum wage of $15. Research has shown a higher minimum wage does not mean job losses, rather, it means more money going into the local economy.

“Even economists are clearly showing that an increase in minimum wage is good for the economy,” Rogers said. “I ask the Premier, will he bring in legislation lifting the minimum wage to $15 by 2021?” Rogers said in Question Period.

Rogers says, clearly, government doesn’t listen to the people of the province, invoking a 15 cent increase in minimum wage when we called for $15. She says there are 13,000 minimum wage earners in this province, two-thirds of whom are women working fulltime, and half of these older than 25 years of age.

“I ask the Premier, how can he possibly justify not helping the lowest paid people in the province when it makes good economic sense?”

Labour Critic Lorraine Michael (MHA, St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi) says over a year ago, in response to our Private Member’s Motion, government voted to start the process to enact pay equity legislation. She says, to date, we have seen nothing from this government other than a refusal to answer questions in the House.

“This is an issue long overdue for fixing,” said Michael. “Why won’t he direct the minister responsible to bring pay equity legislation to the House?”

Michael says that women in this province make 69 cents for every dollar a man makes. “This is completely unacceptable and must be corrected,” Michael said.

“I ask the Premier, what does he have to say to the thousands of working women in the province who have been waiting for a year for him to deal with to keep his commitment to fix this unfair wage gap?”

Associated Caucus Members: 

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