Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

MAY 1: INTERNATIONAL WORKERS’ DAY

Posted by strattof on May 3, 2015

May 1st is recognized around the world as International Workers’ Day. It commemorates the May 4 1886 killing of four workers in Chicago during the struggle for the eight-hour work day.

Today, May 1st is an occasion for celebrating the gains workers made over the last century. It also provides us with a chance to reflect on the struggles still facing working people in Saskatchewan.

MINIMUM WAGE IN SASKATCHEWAN: SOME FACTS

  • The minimum wage in Saskatchewan is $10.20 per hour, the second lowest minimum wage in Canada.
  • On October 1, 2014, the minimum wage in Saskatchewan rose from $10 to $10.20 per hour, a 1% a year increase since the last rise in Saskatchewan’s minimum wage in 2012.
  • On April 1, 2014, Saskatchewan MLAs got an automatic 1.5% increase in pay.
  • The base pay for MLAs is now $94,668, an increase of $1,399 per year.
  • Today, a full-time minimum wage worker earns $21,248.64 a year, an increase of $416 per year.

COULD YOU LIVE ON THE MINIMUM WAGE?

  • A full-time minimum wage worker in Saskatchewan earns $1,770.72 per month.
  • The average monthly rent for a one bedroom apartment in Regina is $904.
  • That’s more than 50% of a full-time minimum wage worker’s salary. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation defines “affordable housing” as costing a household 30% or less of before-tax income.
  • Since 2007, Regina food and rent costs rose by 45%, while the minimum wage increased by only 28%.

WHY IS THERE NO MAXIMUM WAGE?

In 2013, the CEO of PotashCorp took home just under $11 million, 528 times what a minimum wage worker earned.

A LIVING WAGE: $16.46 PER HOUR

The $10.20 per hour Saskatchewan minimum wage is a poverty level wage. By contrast, a Living Wage is sufficient to meet a family’s basic needs and ensure it does not slip into poverty.

In Regina, an hourly wage of $16.46 is just enough to meet the basic needs of a family of four with both parents working full time.

Here’s a bare bones budget for that family, which includes a boy age seven and a girl age four.

  • Both parents work full time year round.
  • The family rents a three bedroom apartment and has a used car and a Regina Transit pass.
  • The children are in licensed preschool and school age day cares.
  • The parents each take one course per year at SIAST to upgrade their credentials with a view to improving career options.

A Living Wage of $16.46 per hour means a monthly income of $4,853, just enough to meet the above expenses. It leaves little opportunity for saving, although a small contingency ($192 a month) allows meeting unexpected emergencies such as family illness or having to relocate to a different apartment.

THE BENEFITS OF A LIVING WAGE

  • A living wage reduces poverty.
  • A living wage helps close the gap between the wages of men and women.
  • A living wage increases workers’ purchasing power.
  • A living wage reduces employee turnover.

Workers, their families, communities, businesses, and the City of Regina will all benefit from a Living Wage.

LET’S MAKE REGINA A LIVING WAGE CITY!

TAKE ACTION

►Poverty Free Saskatchewan: www.povertyfreesask.ca

►Upstream: www.povertycosts.ca

  • If you are an employer, make sure all your employees are paid a Living Wage.
  • Encourage the City of Regina to make sure that all city employees are paid a Living Wage and that all employers contracting with the city pay their employees a Living Wage.
  • Send this leaflet to your City Councillor and MLA.

 

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