16 Feb 2011

Calls for a lift in minimum wage in Cook Islands

7:29 am on 16 February 2011

There's a push in the Cook Islands for an immediate 60 percent lift in the minimum wage.

The Cook Islands Workers Association represents most workers in the country and its president, Anthony Turua, says such a move is needed to slow the rate of emigration.

He says there hasn't been any adjustment to the minimum wage of 3 dollars 78 cents US for four to five years.

Mr Turua says they want an hourly payment of just over six US dollars and he says it's critical if the country is to stop people leaving.

He says the government has raised affordability concerns.

"I said well we need to sit down together and relook at the affordability and reprioritise what you need. Do you need the people to [be] retained on the island or do you want to spend money on other unnecessary priorities, when the asset of our country, which is our own people, needs to be looked after."

Cook Islands Workers Association president, Anthony Turua.