April 20, 2020
BC newest and fastest-growing political party today called for an immediate minimum wage increase for all workers the government has categorized as “essential.” “Right now, delivery drivers, janitorial staff, long term care home orderlies, cashiers and legions of other people holding our society together have a minimum wage of $13.85 per hour, significantly less than the minimum wage in adjacent US and Canadian jurisdictions. Our government has ruled their work essential, curtailing their ability to leave their jobs and forcing them to work in hazardous situations, interacting with dozens or hundreds of potential Covid carriers every single shift,” stated Stuart Parker, a party spokesperson.
“Back in 1995, when Adrian Dix and John Horgan were senior civil servants in the Harcourt Administration and minimum wage was $7.50 per hour, the NDP enacted what it called ‘the Fair Wage Policy,’ requiring that construction and other firms benefiting from government contracts pay their employees $22.50 per hour. We think it is only fitting that the floor wage, going forward, for any business benefiting from the ‘essential’ designation under provincial government policy be required to do the same,” Parker added.
CERB Pays More Than Full-Time On BC Minimum Wage
Alannah New-Small, the party’s chief financial officer and a veteran of decades of frontline employment in retail added, “If you work 34 hours or less per week at BC’s current minimum wage, you receive less money before deductions than those receiving federal government relief receive after deductions. Yet, if you work in an essential business, you cannot simply leave and obtain CERB instead. Those voluntarily quitting businesses that the government deems both essential and ‘safe,’ become ineligible for CERB or EI benefits and must instead seek income assistance from the BC government, which pays less than $800 per month. So, what we have is a situation where our most important workers are receiving poverty wages and, in many cases, being pressured to work in places they deem unsafe, against their will.”
BC’s Ecosocialist Party is not participating in the de facto shutdown of provincial politics and operates outside the three-party cross-partisan consensus that has effectively shut down political debate in BC. “The fact is that there is a Green-Liberal-NDP consensus to accelerate and deepen the worst environmental and economic problems facing our province today. And we will continue to call that out,” Parker concluded.