The minimum wage will tomorrow increase by 25c to $12.75p an
hour and low-paid workers plan to mark the occasion with an
"April 1 Fool's Day" protest.
Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson announced the 2 percent
increase in January saying it struck a balance between
ensuring a fair wage and not discouraging businesses from
taking on new staff.
The increase was met with derision by union representatives.
Unite Union, which organises workers in fast food, cinemas,
hotels and other low-paying industries, plan to roll "New
Zealand's largest 25c coin" (with a diameter of about 1.5m)
through Auckland to Prime Minster John Key's house in
The protesters will stop off at stores where low-paid workers
will be asked to sign the coin and add a message for Mr Key.
"This April 1, we're asking Who's Fooling Who?" Unite
campaigns coordinator Joe Carolan said.
"25 cents won't pay the rent, and it won't make a dent on
rising costs and inflation for 100,000 of the lowest paid
workers. Nine cents of it will already be eaten up by
additional tax and increased ACC levies.
"If John Key thinks we're fools this April 1 he might be in
for a rude surprise. 150,000 registered voters have signed
our petition to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour."
Mr Carolan said there were more than 350,000 workers in New
Zealand earning less than $15 an hour.