AFL calls for immediate minimum wage hike

The Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) is calling on the province to immediately increase the minimum wage.

It's a move they say is long overdue. The current minimum wage in Alberta is $8.80, the second lowest in Canada, and the AFL's Gil McGowan says that means that full-time wage earners in our province, are actually below the poverty line.

"Anyone working that amount of time should earn a wage that allows them to live above the poverty line," McGowan says. "And in Alberta you'd have to earn about $12 an hour to do that. We feel very strongly that a minimum wage, should actually be a living wage."

McGowan says at the very least, the minimum wage should be increased by $0.25, to $9.05. That's a problem, according to Jay Fisher with Alberta Employment and Immigration. He says it's tricky managing the minimum wage.

"Striking a balance is the key here, you can't jump a minimum wage too far or it hurts business' ability to compete," explains Fisher. "And of course on the other hand you have to keep minimum wage as an attractive number to bring people into these entry level jobs."

Fisher says minister Thomas Lukaszuk is looking into a minimum wage increase, but can't say when we can expect an announcement.

inews880am, Tues Mar 15 2011

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