Michael calls for immediate review of minimum wage

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael

In the wake of a successful town hall hosted by her caucus Tuesday evening, NDP Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi) is calling on government to immediately review the province’s minimum wage practices. Dozens of people came to voice their opinions and listen to what others had to say at a town hall on the minimum wage.

“We heard thoughtful considerations on the effects of poverty on physical and mental health, on what a living wage should be, and the connection between the temporary foreign worker program and the minimum wage,” Michael said today.

“Others spoke about the near-impossibility of living on minimum wage. One woman described working 120 hours every two weeks at two jobs while she was raising her children. A young man spoke about having to decide between buying groceries and making a student loan payment to maintain his credit rating for the future.”

Michael says it is obvious that the province needs a serious overhaul of minimum wage legislation, and it needs it sooner than government wants.

“The original promise of this government was to review minimum wage every two years,” she said. “The last review was in 2012, and government chose to basically disregard the review committee’s recommendation.

“I would expect there to be a new review this year – in 2014 – but government says it will apparently not happen until 2015. With this government’s record of slow action, that could mean no substantive improvement for our lowest-paid workers until 2016 or even later.”

Meanwhile, says Michael, the cost of living continues to increase at a rate that outpaces the minimum wage increases.

Associated Caucus Members: 

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