Nfld. & Labrador

Lorraine Michael wants fast action on hiking minimum wage

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael says a petition her party is circulating around Newfoundland and Labrador will prove that there is a need for quick and substantial action on the minimum wage.
NDP Leader Lorraine Michael says many working people must rely on food banks because they do not earn enough on minimum wage. (CBC)

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael says a petition her party is circulating around Newfoundland and Labrador will prove that there is a need for quick and substantial action on the minimum wage.

The wage, which has been $10 per hour since July 2010, will increase by 25 cents on Oct. 1.

Another 25-cent increase is scheduled for October 2015, when a new review is set to be launched.

In an interview, Michael said those changes are completely inadequate.

"Government has just been ignoring the fact that minimum wage is slipping back. While they may be putting it up by a few cents, people who got $10 in 2010 have been losing every year," she said.

"They're losing purchasing power because the minimum wage has not been keeping up."

Newfoundland and Labrador shares the dubious distinction of having the lowest minimum wage in the country with New Brunswick and the Northwest Territories. 

The NDP caucus has been holding public meeting on the issue, including a forum this week at St. Theresa's Parish Hall in St. John's.

As well, New Democrats are circulating a petition calling on the government to act now rather than wait more than a year for a review.

"We want to show government that thousands of people agree with us," said Michael, adding that she plans to bring the petition to the House of Assembly after it re-opens.

She said some of the stories the caucus collected involve the working poor who cannot make ends meet.

"With food banks, a lot of the people going are working, but who are making minimum wage," she said.

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