For Immediate Release
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Chamber disappointed with government’s
plan to increase minimum wage
April 8, 2010 – Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dave Angus says the provincial government’s 50-cent increase in the minimum wage shows how out-of-touch it is with the challenges facing the local business community.
“The past year has been an extremely challenging one for the local business community with all sectors feeling the effects of recessionary pressures,” Angus said.
“The provincial government indicated in the most recent throne speech that the provincial economy is forecast to contract by 0.2 percent in 2009 and Premier Greg Selinger has been quoted on numerous occasions stating that ‘flat is the new up’ when it comes to the Manitoba economy.”
Since April 2001, the minimum wage in Manitoba has increased by 50 per cent from $6 to the current level of $9 and will now increase another 50 cents in October to $9.50. Currently, the criteria on which the Manitoba minimum wage increase is warranted is not widely known or understood. The Chamber recommends that the province establish a formal list of criteria on which future increases are based.
The criteria should include the following:
· CPI (consumer price index)
· Provincial GDP (gross domestic product)
· Provincial employment rates
· Average private/public sector wage increases
· Minimum wage levels in other provinces
Angus added that The Chamber would recommend that during these difficult times - it is not the time that we should be looking at increasing costs for business by significantly increasing the minimum wage in Manitoba. As companies strive to survive a government-imposed increase in business costs, it is unwarranted and would be detrimental. In addition, any increased costs that businesses are going to be saddled with will inevitably have to be passed on to consumers through higher prices.
“Increasing the minimum wage simply adds to the burden borne by business during a period of time when the community as a whole may not be able to support the increase which could significantly hinder economic recovery and result in job losses,” concluded Angus.
Contact: Chuck Davidson – Vice-president Policy and Communications
Tel: (204) 942-3011 ext. 210 Cell. (204) 782-1679