Minimum wage: 2.5 per cent increase over four years lags way behind cost of living
NDP Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi) says the minuscule increase to the province’s minimum wage that takes effect today does not recognize the reality of workers' lives.
Almost a year ago, government announced 25 cent minimum wage increase that starts today October 1, 2014. The 2.5 per cent raise is the first the province’s lowest paid workers have received since 2010.
“Government ignored the recommendations of its own Minimum Wage Advisory Committee. Today the minimum wage is increasing by a paltry 25 cents. The cost of living, meanwhile, is rising at a rate that far outpaces increases to minimum wage,” said Michael.
The 2012 Minimum Wage Advisory Committee recommended both raises in the minimum wage beginning in 2013, and legislated annual increases based on the cost of living, as is done in a number of other provinces.
Michael said, “At the same time that the cost of living is going up and up, the value of our minimum wage is going down and down.”
The purchasing power of the Newfoundland and Labrador minimum wage has dropped seven per cent since 2010.
“Individuals and families are finding it nearly impossible to get by on minimum wage,” Michael said. “I call on the Premier to enact a truly fair system of increasing the minimum wage that helps to keep people of the province out of poverty.”