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Food price rises will spur demands for pay rises: CTU

8/25/2011 1:33:54 AM

Rising food prices will make workers even more determined to get pay increases that keep pace with the cost of living, unions say.

Food prices rose 2 percent in July, pushed up by a strong 8.9 percent increase in fruit and vegetables, Statistics New Zealand reported today.

Meat, poultry and fish prices rose 3.7 percent and grocery food 0.5 percent.

During the year, food rices rose 7.9 percent

The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) said the food price rises far outpaced the 1.9 percent increase in wages.

That meant essential food was becoming increasingly unaffordable to low income households, said CTU economist Bill Rosenberg.

"The food price rises hit low income households and families with dependent children harder than others," he said.

"Combined with low wage increases, many people will be forced to go without important parts of their diets or scrimp on other necessary spending."

The Labour Party said fruit and vegetables prices had increased for the sixth month in a row and people were paying nearly 16 percent more than they were this time last year.

"It's obvious to everyone that wages are simply not keeping up with prices rises," said deputy leader Annette King.

"Labour wants every Kiwi family to be able to afford healthy fruit and vegetables -- that's why we will take GST off fresh fruit and vegetables and make the first $5000 of everyone's income tax-free."

Ms King said the Government was still "trying to con Kiwis" into believing they were better off.

"People only need to look at supermarket receipts to see how silly those statements are," Ms King said.

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SRC: http://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/175006/food-price-rises-will-spur-demands-pay-rises-ctu


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