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VANCOUVER - Through a new on-line petition, thousands of citizens are registering their outrage at the discriminatory two-tier wage system that came into effect in BC on November 15.

In a move worthy of the Grinch who stole Christmas, Premier Gordon Campbell and his MLAs gave themselves pay raises as soon as they took office this year, then decreed that workers can be paid $6 an hour for their first 500 hours on a new job. This is a drastic cut from the BC minimum wage currently set at $8 an hour.

This $6 an hour so-called training wage steals money from those who can least afford it, youth, students, women, and immigrant workers to pump up the profits of some of the richest corporations in the world, says young workers advocate and CUPE Local 374 president Justin Schmid. This is not what people voted for!

On behalf of an ad hoc group of young workers and students in BC, Schmid has set up an online petition that will be presented to Gordon Campbell and his Liberal Government soon. The petition reads:

“We demand that Gordon Campbell and all MLAs who voted in favour of the “first job” wage be paid $6 per hour for their first 500 hours in office since the 2001 election.”

While weve had some fun with the wording of this petition, we want to send a strong message to the Liberal government that this training wage is no joke to workers and our families, Schmid adds. This means a bleak Christmas for too many people.

This on-line petition is rapidly drawing public attention across the province. As of Friday November 30, more than 4,400 people had signed the petition and shared their comments on the training wage scheme.

To sign the petition and add your own message to the Premier, go to http://www.cupe.bc.ca or to http://www.petitiononline.com/fjwc/petition.html.

For more information on ways to take action, check out the website hosted by the

BC Federation of Labour http://www.6buckssucks.com/.

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Media please contact:
Justin Schmid, President CUPE Local 374 at
250-383-2253 or 250-889-5709.
Teresa Marshall, CUPE National Communications Representative
604-291-1940.