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The real effects of raising minimum wage

The benefits of increasing the minimum wage

The real effects of raising minimum wage

It is a new year and Joe Sawchuck is starting early with his minimum wage rants. We endured multiple letters from him last year and it seems this year will be no different. Joe really loves to advocate for the powerful and ignore the living reality of his fellow citizens.

Increasing minimum wage has not caused him to stand in check out lines longer. Part-time, precarious, low pay and unsustainable employment is what is causing retailers inability to attract and retain workers and thus causing him to stand in line longer. Minimum wage has gone up for the last two years and yet there is still ‘WE ARE HIRING SIGNS” permanently displayed. (COVID exceptions noted)

The benefits of increasing the minimum wage are higher household incomes; increased consumer spending; lower workplace turnover and absenteeism. The few studies claiming to show job loss from minimum wage increases have been debunked. There are also multiple studies available to clarify, in a factual way, the limited impact labour costs have on product pricing

Joe is very disgruntled over the employer health care tax. If Joe could take the time to think about how beneficial having the medical premiums taken care for all British Columbians is he might stop complaining on behalf of the employers. I have not heard one individual say, “I want to pay my medical premiums again! Damn that government for taking that burden from me.”

I do not want to be overly critical of Mr. Sawchuk but, if there is anyone who has repeatedly shown they have no understanding of how retail works it is Joe Sawchuk. He has no comprehension as to why self-checkers are being implemented. He has no understanding of the allocation of labour. He certainly does not grasp that workers who need to hold down multiple jobs lose all their protection under labour laws because they apply to each employer specifically (you can work 10 hrs with no overtime and no breaks if it is for two different employers). Most importantly he does not seem to grasp that these tiny increases to minimum wage are only just approaching the poverty level of B.C. and only if the workers are fortunate enough to get full-time hours.

It is commendable that as a reflection of our collective societal views our democratically elected government has implemented a legislated minimum wage for workers in British Columbia that will increase the standard of living of workers, reduce poverty and reduce inequality. It is also accepted that the raising of a minimum wage stimulates the local economy and as such will create more employment opportunities. These are things that will benefit more than just the workers that will receive a modest pay bump come June. Remember we are taking about minimum wage not a living wage or a sustainable income. Mr. Sawchuk’s ability to defend and fight for the overdog is if nothing else, consistent.

Dara Quast

Cobble Hill

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