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ST. JOHNS, NL The Canadian Union of Public Employees is calling on the Williams government to boost the provinces minimum wage to $8.00 an hour to match that of British Columbia.

With today being the deadline for submissions on the provinces minimum wage laws, CUPE Newfoundland and Labradors Wayne Lucas says theyve made their submission, telling the government that such a bold move would be a major stride for low-wage workers, the majority of whom are women and our youth.

Says Lucas, If this government is sincere about addressing womens wages and the wages of high school, college and university students, then there could be no more direct a route than this.

CUPE points to a study of minimum-wage workers by Statistics Canada released in March of this year, which paints a grim picture for minimum wage earners across Canada. The study found:

  • There are 547,000 people working across the country for the lowest legal wages.
  • Those minimum wages range from a low of $5.90 an hour in Alberta to a high of $8.50 in Nunavut, with most provinces setting the rate at between $6 and $7. NLs rate is near the bottom of the pack at $6.00 an hour.
  • Nearly half of all minimum-wage workers were between the ages of 15 and 19 and the majority of all minimum-wage workers (60 per cent) have only part-time jobs.
  • Perhaps the most staggering statistic, however, is that women account for almost two-thirds of minimum-wage workers.

The Stats-Can reports states, “This overrepresentation of women existed in all age groups, with rates for women being almost double those for men.” The study also found that 27,000 single parents are earning a minimum wage.

For information:
Wayne Lucas
President, CUPE Newfoundland & Labrador
753-0732 (o)
727-2509 (Cell)

John McCracken
CUPE Communications Rep.
(902) 455-4180 (o)