B.C. workers get bump in pay as minimum wage rises to $10.25
Tuesday was a great day for low-end wage earners as the provincial government held true to their word by implementing the third increase to the minimum wage over the past year.
This increase follows on a commitment by the Clark government in March 2011 to increase minimum wage in three stages to $10.25 per hour by May 1, 2012.
At the same time, the minimum wage rate for liquor servers and hand harvesters will increase to $9 per hour.
“When the minimum wage increase was announced a year ago we lobbied on behalf of business to not bring changes in all of a sudden but instead to have the increases brought in more slowly,” Tom Thomsen, Executive Director at Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce told The Nelson Daily Tuesday.
“Now that the increases are now in place hopefully they’ll be able to be absorbed by the business community.”
B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair applauded Tuesday’s increase but also expressed disappointment in the BC Liberal government’s decision to leave some workers out.
Sinclair reiterated the view of the B.C. Fed view that anyone working 40 hours a week should earn at least enough to stay above the poverty line, adding by using the Low Income Cut Off (LICO), median would put the wage at about $11.25 an hour.
“Today’s increase to $10.25 is good news, and long overdue. Unfortunately, even at $10.25, workers in BC don’t reach the poverty line,” Sinclair explained.
“We are looking for a commitment by government to increase the wage again six months from now.”
The incremental increase Thomson was talking about started with a $.75 bump a year ago from $8.
In November 2011, the B.C. government added another $.75 jump before Tuesday’s recent increase to $10.25.
"The increase will probably affect some business more than others but in the Nelson area I don't believe this (increase) would have that big of an affect as a lot of workers are already getting paid more than the minimum wage," said Thomson.