E tū is commending the Government for the support of low-income households and a just transition for workers in precarious employment in Budget 2020: Rebuilding Together.
The Budget, which sees the Government spending $50bn across our economy, has a strong focus on both jobs and workers.
E tū Assistant National Secretary Annie Newman says that there is a lot for workers to celebrate.
“To start with, the extension of the wage subsidy scheme is critical for workers who are employed by businesses that are struggling to make it through this crisis,” Annie says.
“The wage subsidy scheme worked very well to keep money in people’s pockets and keep workers connected to their employers. Continuing on from that success is a no-brainer.
“The emphasis on creating new and decent jobs that are socially and environmentally sustainable is an important step towards a just transition for workers who are in precarious employment, such as our E tū members in aviation.
“Large numbers of workers will need to rapidly retrain, and E tū supports vocational education being funded for a wide range of jobs, from construction to community care.
“Low paid workers have always depended on social services and support because their wages are insufficient for them to live a decent life. The big investment in food in schools and housing are critical pieces of the puzzle.”
E tū member and Auckland Council cleaner, Meleane Moala, says the new social support will help her family.
“I only earn $1200 a fortnight, but my rent is $530 per week. If I am given the opportunity to live in a state house, it will help with home security and I’ll be able to save money,” Meleane says.
“I have a 7-year-old, a 4-year-old, and a 3-year-old, so the school lunch programme is really good news. It will be very helpful my family and other families that can’t always afford healthy lunches for our kids.”
However, Annie says that more needs to be done for our most vulnerable.
“A striking omission from the Budget is the much-need boost to benefit levels.
“The basic benefit is totally inadequate for people to survive on. The Welfare Expert Advisory Group recommended increasing the main benefit level by up to 47% – this is still urgent.
“Further, benefits need to be individualised so that when people lose their jobs, they get the support they need regardless of their family circumstances. Otherwise you see household losing a full income with very little extra support.”