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NZCTU slams Government cutting disabled workers wages as disgraceful

Government cutting disabled workers wages is disgraceful No worker should be paid less than minimum wage.

The NZCTU is slamming a decision by the Government in Budget 2024 to cut a programme which ensured that disabled workers are paid the minimum wage.

“It is disgraceful that this Government is cutting the incomes of hundreds of workers with disabilities across Aotearoa New Zealand,” said NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff.

“The idea that any worker should be paid below the minimum wage, let alone as low as $2 per hour, is totally unacceptable.

“The Government was elected on a platform of supporting New Zealanders through the cost-of-living crisis, and yet with this change they are intentionally making life harder for disabled workers,” said Wagstaff.

“The previous Government’s decision to end the minimum wage exemption for disabled workers by paying employers a subsidy was a long-overdue decision,” said Nicole Wallace, convenor of Kaimahi Whaikaha, the NZCTUs disabled workers sector group.

“That policy was the result of decades of advocacy by workers with disabilities, the union movement, and disabled people’s organisations. Workers with disabilities deserve to work with dignity.  

“It is deeply disappointing that the new Government is reversing that policy and condemning many disabled workers to low wages.

“Workplace discrimination and lack of access to work are a significant contributor to high rates of poverty among people with disabilities. This decision will further increase poverty among disabled people,” said Wallace.