9 Oct 2013

A future Labour government would introduce living wage

6:26 pm on 9 October 2013

The Labour Party leader, David Cunliffe, says a Labour Government would introduce a living wage rate for core public sector employees as matter of priority if elected.

Mr Cunliffe made the commitment at a meeting of Council of Trade Unions.

The Council of Trade Unions said the Labour Party had outlined a fairer vision for how workers would be treated under its governance.

The CTU's president, Helen Kelly, said voters now had a clear distinction between the current government and what Labour's promising.

She said she was excited by Labour's promise to invest in and respect workers, rather than running a low-wage economy.

The union movement has been running a campaign for a living wage with a minimum hourly rate of $18.40.

David Cunliffe.

David Cunliffe. Photo: RNZ

Mr Cunliffe told the meeting the policy would cost the Government about $30 million a year, is affordable, and would be rolled out in a responsible way.

He said there were only a relatively limited number of civil servants earning below the living wage.

Mr Cunliffe said scrapping the youth wage rate would be another of the first things a Labour government would do.

And he reiterated the party's current policy of a $15 an hour miniumum wage and extending the paid parental leave scheme.

Mr Cunliffe also told delegates there was merit in the current government's bonding scheme for doctors and nurses in the regions and a Labour government may look at how that could be expanded.