The minimum wage doesn't majorly affect our businesses, as all of our staff are paid at higher rates - at our choosing. But we reckon that the 25c/hr increase announced today (to $12.75 per hour) is a sensible compromise between those who were calling for its increase to $15 per hour, and those who were calling for no movement whatsoever.
Let's face it; our economy is not in good shape. Employment is fairly static at present, and employers can simply not afford to pay large wage increases. As we blogged last week, a significant rise in the minimum wage would have without doubt been a disincentive for businesses to take on new staff in the kind of numbers needed to make a dent in the unemployment figure. Indeed, it is likely that jobs would be lost, which is the last thing New Zealand needs at the moment.
The CTU has, predictably, described the increase as "mean" and "demeaning". Union leaders here need to pull their collective heads out of the Utopian sand they are buried in; these are tough times, and protecting jobs should be their priority. And what is more "demeaning" - working for the minimum wage (if that is all you can get) or being laid off or out of work?
And in the meantime, the Labour Party is planning to introduce a Bill to legislate for a $15/hr minimum wage. We wonder how many of the "ordinary New Zealanders" that Labour purports to represent would lose their jobs should such folly ever take place.