Letter: When it comes to minimum wage, we need a better system

Kelowna letter-writer says the system is broken

To the editor:

While I do of course support swift action to reduce poverty, I do not support the increase to the minimum wage.

Blindly raising the minimum wage does not help the problem, it only makes it worse, especially for people like me.

I am a red seal chef. I went to culinary school in B.C. and have worked in Kelowna restaurants and catering for over eight years.

I make less than a dollar more than the proposed minimum wage.

When the minimum wage is increased, kids in high school who have never gone to secondary school, never worked before, will be making the same amount as me. What incentive will employers have to raise my wage? They already have to raise the wages of part-time dishwashers and servers.

When this wage increase happens, I will be making minimum wage. The cost of goods and services will rise, and I will still be sharing a rented studio apartment with my partner who is also in the trades.

So why would I support this?

I know a blanket solution is an easy and fast way to make it look like change is being effected, but to extend the metaphor, it is merely a cover-up of an underlying problem.

The solution, while a bit more complex, is clear to me and everyone I talk to about this issue.

We have tax brackets for people who make different amounts. We keep track of how long people work and for how much, for E.I. purposes.

When I worked for Extra Foods in high school, (now Independent) they started everyone at the same amount, and gave raises at regular intervals of hours worked.

We need a system where workers are entitled to per cent raises after a certain number of hours worked. We raise rent, gas, and groceries by x per cent every year. When does my wage ever go up x per cent?

It’s too bad that this increase is just for appearances, and not to instill actual change. If a mere chef like me can figure out a more fair solution, I’m sure their “research teams” could have too.

Alyssa Campbell, Kelowna

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