“The Alward government made the right decision by honouring its election commitment and raising the minimum wage rate to the Atlantic average,” says Michel Boudreau, President of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour (NBFL). “The government also demonstrated leadership by listening to public opinion and not going ahead with a two-tier minimum wage.”
Earlier this week, the provincial government announced that it would go ahead with increasing the provincial minimum wage rate by 50 cents on April 1, 2012, bringing minimum wage rate to $10 per hour. Last July, the provincial government had announced that it would delay the increase by six months. In November, the government also announced that it was studying the possibility of introducing a lower minimum wage for tip-earning workers in licensed facilities.
“I am pleased to see that the government is also committing to a long term plan for minimum wage rates,” adds Boudreau. “This will allow business owners to plan for the future, knowing when scheduled increases will happen. Perhaps New Brunswick can lead the rest of Canada in making sure that a job lifts workers out of poverty.”
“Let’s hope that the government takes a similar approach when it comes to the provincial budget in March,” says Sandy Harding, First Vice-President of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour. “New Brunswick needs to stop its program of corporate welfare and to re-introduce a progressive tax rate for both individuals and corporations. Otherwise the gap between the rich and the rest of New Brunswickers will continue to grow.”
In its 2012 pre-budget submission, the New Brunswick Federation of Labour presented a number of initiatives that would allow the provincial government to take a balanced approach in addressing the provincial deficit and debt the upcoming budget. The NBFL’s pre-budget submission included both cost saving and revenue generating initiatives.
The New Brunswick Federation of Labour is New Brunswick’s largest central labour body representing 40,000 members of both public sector and private sector labour unions.