Workers to benefit from pay increase

Nanaimo’s lowest wage earners were happy to hear about an increase in the province’s minimum wage – but some didn’t realize they’d be reaping the benefits of the newly announced hourly rates.

Nanaimo’s lowest wage earners were happy to hear about an increase in the province’s minimum wage – but some didn’t realize they’d be reaping the benefits of the newly announced hourly rates.

Last Tuesday, Premier Christy Clark announced B.C.’s minimum hourly rate of $8/hour will go up by three increments over the next 14 months: $8.75 on May 1, 2010; $9.50 on Nov. 1, 2010; and, finally, $10.25 on May 1, 2012.

“I make more than minimum wage, so I’m not affected,” said Sten Lundgrun, a part-time gas station employee and a full-time student at Vancouver Island University.

Lundgrun was surprised to learn the wage would be going up as high as $10.25 and admitted that was more than his current pay rate.

Mandy Newman, 21, works full-time at a different service station.

At $9/hour, Newman thought she was making the minimum possible income, but was delighted to learn she’d be getting a little more cash in her pockets.

Servers aren’t as thrilled with the announcement made by B.C.’s new premier, which will see their minimum wage increased to $9/hour by May 2012.

“Our approach to liquor servers will be in line with what already exists in Ontario. In that province, the alcohol server rate has allowed the general minimum wage to increase while maintaining and supporting jobs in the food and beverage service sector,” said Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Labour, in a press release.

Although none were willing to speak on record, several servers contacted by the News Bulletin expressed disappointment with that move.