SEIU member joins Labour Minister Harry Bains at announcement of new Minimum Wage Increases

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Surrey, BC – Service Employees International Union Local 2 member Agnes Estimo joined Minister of Labour Harry Bains at a press conference Monday, where the Minister announced annual increases to the minimum wage going forward that would be tied to B.C’s annual inflation rate.

Agnes Estimo, a janitor at Burnaby’s Metropolis at Metrotown shopping centre spoke alongside Minister Bains about these positive changes and the impact it would have on her co-workers and their families. All workers earning a minimum wage across BC will be receiving a 2.8% increase this June – going from $15.20 to $15.65.

“The cost of living has gone up very fast – the pay has not kept up. We appreciate the increases over the last few years, but more needed to be done to keep heads above the water – so this announcement is welcome news,” said Estimo. 

Estimo and her co-workers organized their union at BC’s largest shopping centre in the summer of 2021 and won a collective agreement later that year. 

Janitors unionized with SEIU earn above minimum wage, but the announcement means they will still be getting a pay bump. That’s because language in their collective agreements trigger a relative increase in wages when the minimum wage rises. Their scheduled June increases will now be higher than anticipated.

“This better reflects the challenges for workers. Workers need to be able to keep up with cost of living,” said Minister Bains. 

SEIU Local 2 welcomes this week’s announcements on changes being made to the minimum wage by the Government of British Columbia, which will benefit thousands of minimum wage workers in BC – a disproportionate number of whom are women and racialized workers.

Since forming government in 2017, the BC Government led by the NDP have increased the minimum wage from $11.35 to $15.65. 

With skyrocketing costs, annual increases tied to inflation is a very encouraging sign. “Right now, most of my co-workers are working two or three jobs to be able to afford to live in BC. We are very excited about this news. Knowing that the minimum wage is not frozen and is continuing to rise with inflation is great news for everyone,” said Estimo.

For more details on coverage of this story, visit: https://globalnews.ca/news/8682128/british-columbia-minimum-wage-increases-inflation/amp/

Agnes Estimo, SEIU Local 2 member speaks at the BC minimum wage announcement. Photo courtesy the Province of British Columbia.
(l-r) Agnes Estimo, Minister Bains, and Phillip Aguirre. Photo courtesy the Province of British Columbia.