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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, Issue 3. 15th March [1976]

We've Been Robbed!

page 7

We've Been Robbed!

On April 7 several thousand workers from the Wellington Area will meet in Wellington to discuss their quality of life - or lack of it.

The point we wish to make is that workers in New Zealand have not only Failed to keep their earnings up with inflation, they have suffered a Fall in their standard of living.

Since taking office the National Government has instituted or announced price increases which will cost most families at least $5.00 per week more to retain their current standard of living. These increases include Electricity (up 40%), Rail Fares (up 64%), Postal Charges, Milk. Bread and Petrol.

To offset the rise in the cost of living the Government on January 28 gave all workers a 9 cents per hour ($3.60 per week) rise.

The unions will meet next month to discuss the Shortfall in rise and the associated drop in their standard of living that will follow..

Graph of living costs

The Myths

There are many myths about wage rises - 'they cause inflation', and 'In times like this they will lead to unemployment'. You've probably heard these and many more.

However, wage restraints have been in force since 1973 and any wage increases that have occurred have had to be fought for.

But - has inflation stopped, - or the rate of inflation even slowed down?

Have the unemployment figures dropped considerably?

Of course not. But the myths still persist, creating an amount of dislike for unions which are actively attempting to prevent further cuts to the living standards of their members. The sources of these myths are many, but the point we wish to make is - wage rises are Not the cause of our inflation; wage rises are so far Behind the cost of living that many people are in fact financially worse off now than in the past.

Unequal Share

The following graphs illustrate that not all sectors of the work force are having restrictions placed on their incomes - in fact some sections are receiving Larger increases now than they have before.


Over the next months there could be some adverse publicity given to the Union movement regarding their activities in the area of wage negotiation.

Many of New Zealand's Archie Bunkers who work as Newspaper Editors and Parliamentarians will undoubtedly be active in trying to expound a few more myths and fears to thwart the present objectives of the Union Movement.

However, the fact remains that workers in New Zealand have suffered a drop in their living standards, a drop which many families find unbearable.

We ask you to remember over the next few months that workers in New Zealand are not asking for a Bigger share of the cake, they are trying to stop their share from getting Smaller.