May 1, 2012 Vancouver, BC – While the B.C. Federation of Labour applauded today’s increase in BC’s minimum wage as a good step, the Federation’s President Jim Sinclair also expressed disappointment in the BC Liberal government’s decision to leave some workers out.
Sinclair also reiterated the B.C. Federation of Labour’s view that anyone working 40 hours a week should earn at least enough to stay above the poverty line. He said that today, using the Low Income Cut Off (LICO), median would put the wage at about $11.25 an hour.
“Today’s increase to $10.25 is good news, and long overdue. Unfortunately, even at $10.25, workers in BC don’t reach the poverty line,” said Sinclair. “We are looking for a commitment by government to increase the wage again six months from now.”
The minimum wage in BC jumps to $10.25 an hour today for all workers except liquor servers and hand harvesters. Piece rates remain unchanged and liquor server minimum wages increase to only $9.00.
“It is absolutely unfair and arbitrary of this government to increase the minimum wage for some workers and not others,” said Sinclair.
Sinclair also called on the Minister of Labour to outline her government’s plans for future increases, noting a commitment from the Premier to put a process for future increases in place and to review the wage rate this summer.
Sinclair said that the Federation has proposed an increase to $11.25 in November, followed by a system of annual minimum wage increases based on the recommendations of an independent panel, similar to the Prince Edward Island and Alberta system. The independent panel, to include labour and employer representatives, would recommend an annual increase based on changes in average earnings, gross domestic product, cost of living and the LICO poverty level when setting the wage level.