Nov. 12, 2001
Dear Premier Campbell:
The members of the North Okanagan Labour Council were pleased a while back when we heard that your government intended to honour the previous government's commitment to raise the minimum wage to $8, effective Nov. 1.
The Liberals support a decent working wage for our lowest-paid workers was the message your government sent at the time.
What a betrayal we felt when we heard of your government's plans to introduce the new $6 training wage.
Instead of a reasonable starting wage for single moms and others who most need it, your government is caving in to business owners who believe they can and should exploit inexperienced or desperate workers.
There are many things wrong with this training wage you have introduced. While we reject the idea of training wages in general, we note other jurisdictions that have them do not have such a wide margin between the training wage and the minimum wage. A $2 difference here is a real encouragement to businesses to dump their minimum wage earners and replace them with those on training wages.
Very few minimum-wage jobs require 500 hours of training. Yet, your new wage allows employers to pay this low wage for up to 500 hours. As well, there are insufficient measures in place to prevent employers from firing workers who are nearing their 500 hours or from demanding new hires, who may already be trained, take this wage.
The training wage is open to many abuses and your government introduced virtually no measures to stop those abuses.
The $8 minimum wage is reasonable, not excessive. It's still not enough to lift those who earn that wage out of poverty, but it was a move in that direction.
The training wage is a terrible step backward. It will not boost our economy. It will only boost exploitation.
North Okanagan Labour Council