New Brunswick wage hike 'not enough,' says social justice group

Group pushes for higher minimum wage to 'stem the tide of poverty'

New Brunswick wage hike 'not enough,' says social justice group

A social justice group lauded the initiative of the New Brunswick government to hike minimum wage over the course of 2022 - but warned that it will not be enough to help employees out of poverty. The province announced its minimum wage will be increased by $2 per hour in 2022, with $1 added in April and the other in October to bring minimum wage in the province to $13.75 per hour from the $11.75.

In reaction, the New Brunswick Common Front for Social Justice said in a statement that, while the increase is "sorely needed," the government should further than a "one-time correction." The Common Front said that the current minimum wage is still far behind a living wage.

"I'm glad to see that the minimum wage will increase by $2/hr in New Brunswick, but we are still $4-7/hr below what has been called the living wage in the province," said Denis Boulet, organiser for the Common Front.

"We are so far behind that it won't be enough to stem the tide of poverty," added Boulet.

Read more: Minimum wage hike will see jobs, hours cut

According to the government, wage hike is equivalent to a 17% increase or the "most significant jump in the rate since 1980." But Abram Lutes, provincial coordinator for the Common Front, said there is still catching up to do.

"A $2 hourly increase, despite what Minister [Trevor] Holder qualifies as 'the most significant increase since 1980,' won't change our status as a low-wage economy," said Lutes.

The Common Front is pushing for an immediate $15 per hour minimum wage adjustment, with annual increases to meet a living wage.

"We're going to continue organising and applying pressure for higher wages for New Brunswickers," continued Lutes.

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