B.C.’s college and university students want to get rid of the government’s new “first job” rate. They say that forcing them to work for $6 an hour when the minimum wage is being raised to $8 an hour amounts to a $2 an hour wage cut.
The young people object to the fact that, until they have 500 hours of work experience, they will receive the lower wage. The government believes the first job rate will reduce youth unemployment.
However, there is no evidence that the lower rate will create jobs, say the students. They are also afraid that, as they approach the 500-hour mark, they will lose their jobs to those who are still eligible for the reduced rate.
The Canadian Federation of Students has been joined in its efforts to repeal the law by the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the B.C. Federation of Labour.
The coalition has announced the launch of a campaign Web site, www.6buckssucks.com. Supporters will be able to contact their MLAs and record their experiences with the new wage program. A petition drive will also soon be underway in the province’s schools, colleges and universities.