CALGARY – An Alberta labour leader is worried that the Alberta government might water down their minimum wage commitment after business groups have called for a two-tiered minimum wage.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has called on the province to introduce a ‘training wage’ similar to one in British Columbia, where new workers earn $6/hour, while others earn $8.
But CUPE Alberta President D’Arcy Lanovaz says such a proposal is difficult to regulate, open to abuse, and likely to hurt the most vulnerable workers.
“Employees who don’t know their rights will end up taking the lower wage,” said Lanovaz. “Young workers, employees without strong English skills, and the most desperate for work will be at the mercy of unethical employers.”
Lanovaz said that everyone should be paid the same wage for the same job.
“There is no reason to say that one person doing a job is worth seven dollars an hour, but another person is worth six,” said Lanovaz. “In my mind that’s just discriminatory.”
“The provincial government has a history of being close to the business lobby,” said Lanovaz. “So if the CFIB is calling for a training wage, minimum wage earners should worry that the raise they are expecting might be lower than they were promised.”