Media Release: Workers in Regina and Saskatoon demand a $15 minimum wage

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  • Media Release: Workers in Regina and Saskatoon demand a $15 minimum wage

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April 1, 2019

Workers in Regina and Saskatoon are holding a street party and protest to demand a $15 minimum wage. 

On Monday, April 1, the Fight for $15 Saskatchewan is holding “DEAD LAST,” a street party/protest to ‘celebrate’ the fact that Saskatchewan has the worst minimum wage in the country and call on the Sask Party to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour.

96,000 workers in Saskatchewan – a full fifth of the workforce – earn less than $15/hour. 76 per cent of those earning less than $15/hour are adults. These workers and families are struggling to make ends meet, and since 2008 food bank use in Saskatchewan has grown 77 per cent. The other provinces of Canada are increasing their minimum wages, but Saskatchewan is not. As Nova Scotia raises its minimum wage on April 1, we will be left behind with the worst minimum wage in Canada: $11.06 per hour.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has calculated that in Saskatoon or Regina, a full-time worker would need to earn over $16 per hour to afford the basics like rent, groceries, and childcare.

“That doesn’t even take into account saving for retirement, paying student loans, disability plans, or home ownership,” says Saima Desai, an organizer with the Fight for $15 Saskatchewan. “We desperately need the Sask Party to increase our minimum wage to at least $15 per hour to keep workers out of poverty. Anything less is cruel and cowardly on the part of the Sask Party.”

Between noon and 1 p.m. members of Fight for $15 Saskatchewan and community members will be holding a petition blitz in both Regina and Saskatoon. In Regina, partiers will convene on Scarth Street in front of the Cornwall Mall, and in Saskatoon, the party will be held in front of City Hall.

Volunteers will give out free cake and flyers with information on raising the minimum wage, and will be collecting signatures on a petition calling on the Saskatchewan Party to raise the minimum wage to $15/hr. People will also be able to sign postcards that will be sent to Don Morgan, Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, demanding a $15 minimum wage.

Speakers at the event in Regina will include Avianna Hudym, a low-wage worker; Peter Gilmer from the Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry; and Nairn MacKay, a former low-wage worker and organizer with Poverty Free Saskatchewan.

“A living wage matters even more to the majority of low wage workers who are unlikely to be working a traditional 40 hour work week at the same job,” says MacKay, who has worked a number of low wage jobs in Saskatchewan. “In most sectors, workers are required to keep open availability, which means that taking a second job to make ends meet is nearly impossible.”

Fight for $15 Saskatchewan is one chapter in a larger network of worker-led movements across Canada to raise the minimum wage, improve working standards, and increase access to unions.

Saima Desai / 306-999-4443

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