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Unite's $15 an hour Campaign for a Living Wage
Unite is campaigning to get a rise in the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
The current adult minimum wage is $12.75 an hour - $510 a week. We believe that an adult in a full time job should have a reasonable standard of living without getting into debt or relying on charity or income support. $15 an hour - $600 a week - is a good start.
Unlike superannuation or benefits the minimum wage is not automatically increased each year. By making it 66% of the average wage (the same as the married rate for superannuation) it will keep the lowest paid New Zealand workers out of poverty.
Thanks to the hard work of hundreds of volunteers we managed to get close to 200,000 supporters to sign a petition asking the government to hold a referendum on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
To force the government to hold a referendum we needed 300,000 signatures. That we managed to get two hundred thousand supporters signed up in just seven months is something we are all proud of. Unfortunately it isn't enough to trigger a referendum. We always knew reaching the target was a huge undertaking.
Wherever we went, people flocked to sign the petition. Our only limitation was not having quite enough resources and volunteers to get us over the line. During the campaign public polls show support for an hourly minimum wage of $15 rose to between 66% to 71%. We are delighted that the Labour, Green and Maori Parties have all made it their official policy.
We are deeply grateful to the three hundred dedicated volunteers who donated many hours to the campaign.
Some people have suggested we restart the petition to continue to build public awareness and pressure the government and employers. We will consult widely over the next few weeks on the next steps forward.
The need to campaign to fight for a living wage continues.
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