NEWS RELEASE · 17th March 2011
News that after a decade in office the B.C. Liberals have eventually agreed to increase the minimum wage is a partial victory for B.C.’s lowest-paid workers, the B.C. New Democrats said today.
“It has been almost ten years since B.C.’s lowest-paid workers received a raise. It’s heartening to see today that the B.C. Liberals are willing to admit that they’ve been completely off side with British Columbians,” said New Democrat labour critic Raj Chouhan.
“Unfortunately, there is no plan to tie the minimum wage to the cost of living in order to give certainty to businesses and to families. And while the minimum wage will continue to increase over the coming year, when it is raised to $8.75 on May 1, 2011 we’ll still have the lowest minimum wage in the country.”
For over four years, the B.C. New Democrats have been calling for the minimum wage to be raised to $10 an hour and indexed to inflation. The official Opposition has also been calling on the government to scrap the $6 training wage since Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals first implemented it in 2001.
Chouhan noted that the B.C. New Democrats are continuing to call for a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy.
“Unfortunately, raising the minimum wage isn’t going to be enough to seriously tackle the poverty crisis in British Columbia. It’s an important step but must be part of a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy that addresses the root causes of poverty,” said Chouhan.
Chouhan said that the government must justify why it is proposing a separate minimum wage for beverage servers. He also noted that one of the B.C. Liberal government’s first acts was to gut the Employment Standards Act.
“If Christy Clark is serious about addressing the concerns of workers, she will follow up this announcement by restoring the Employment Standards Act. There’s still a long way to go before we will have made up for the B.C. Liberals’ regressive policies over the last decade,” said Chouhan.